Wednesday's first-round loss in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament's "play-in" game might have been a microcosm for UL's entire men's basketball season.

The Cajuns had a horrific period in the first half, gamely fought back to make a game of it early in the second half, then had nothing left in the tank at the end of its 93-78 loss at North Texas on Wednesday.

For the season, UL was 2-12 at the New Year and rallied to win seven of 13 in the heart of the Sun Belt season, but lost its last three games to finish 9-21. Wednesday's third of those losses dashed the Cajuns' hopes of returning to the Cajundome as a participant in the main segment of the Sun Belt Tournament that begins Saturday.

"We wanted to get the seniors back there one more time," said senior guard David Dees, who had 24 points in the losing effort.

For a couple of minutes, UL found a solution early in Wednesday's second half. The Cajuns, who trailed by a 19-point 43-24 margin five minutes before halftime, went on a 9-0 run that made it a four-point game on two occasions.

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Dan McDonald