North Texas Daily

Defensive woes in blowout loss to SIU has Benford concerned about men’s basketball team

Defensive woes in blowout loss to SIU has Benford concerned about men’s basketball team

December 06
19:34 2015

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

Mean Green men’s basketball has been everything but mean on defense as of late.

A 95-63 loss against Southern Illinois University on Saturday proved just that, stretching the current North Texas losing streak to six games. SIU senior guard Anthony Beane Jr. scored with ease against the Mean Green with 27 points, including going 3-4 from beyond the arch.

“I knew when we scheduled these guys they were going to be a good team,” head coach Tony Benford said. “He’s a great player. He can score off the bounce, he can shoot the three, and he’s one of the greater guys we’ll play all year.”

Beane entered the game ranked 39th in Division 1 in scoring with 19.9 points a game. In 33 minutes of play, the senior went 11-14 from the field, with a missed three-pointer as his one missed field goal in the first half.

“He’s a guy that’s tough to guard when he has the ball in his hands,” Benford said. “We need to work on keeping the ball out of his hands more.”

The home team also did not shoot well from any part of the court against SIU, going 59% from the free throw line and 11% from three. The Mean Green only led SIU the first 21 seconds of the game after a Reese lay up to begin the game.

“We just have to make our shots,” Reese said. “We need to spread the ball more offensively.”

Spreading the ball didn’t come easy for North Texas. The team only had six assists throughout the entire game.

But according to Benford, North Texas’ biggest problem comes from the defensive side of the ball.

“We’ve got to get defensive stops,” Benford said. “We didn’t get our stops tonight. When a team shoots 70 percent on you, it’s tough to generate and get easy baskets and shots in transition.”

Graduate forward Eric Katenda got the only block of the night for the Mean Green. The Notre Dame transfer doesn’t think the season’s over if North Texas improves on defense soon.

“We need to work hard on getting better as team,” Katenda said. “We can’t blame anyone else except ourselves for not playing well.”

After winning its first two games of the season, Benford is starting to worry about the season slipping away from the Mean Green.

“I’ve never been a part of a skid like this in my entire career as a player or coach or assistant,” Benford said. “I always tell my guys it’s a long season, but we need to get off this skid because the last two teams to go to the NCAA tournament out of [Conference USA] were 4-9 going into conference play.”

At 2-6, North Texas has a week to prepare for SIU again next Friday as part of a home-and-away back to back. The Mean Green haven’t won a game since Thanksgiving and parted ways with junior guard Deadre Harris last week.

With so much going on with the team, Benford’s doing his best to keep the team steady in the long season ahead.

“We’re going through some adversity, but nobody’s going to feel sorry for you,” Benford said. “I think we have enough talent to fix it but we need to fix it pretty fast. We have to stay together and keep trusting one another, because when you don’t have trust, this is what happens.”

Featured Image: North Texas junior guard Deckie Johnson (10) dribbles past a Southern Illinois defender to drive the basket. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

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