North Texas Daily

Duffy’s breakout night sparks men’s basketball in quarterfinal win over Mercer

Duffy’s breakout night sparks men’s basketball in quarterfinal win over Mercer

March 19
22:38 2018

Junior guard Jorden Duffy constantly battled a lingering foot injury throughout the duration of the season. He only played in nine of the 18 conference games and shot a lowly 29.4 percent from 3-point range.

There was another Jorden Duffy the fans saw a long time ago, but not in a game, in the 3-point contest before the season. On Oct. 26, he won the contest with a dazzling shooting performance and promised to be a knockdown shooter as a first year junior college transfer.

It was a difficult year for the Maryland native, but he had his breakout game for the Mean Green Monday night in the quarterfinals of the College Basketball Invitational tournament against Mercer University.

Duffy scored 31 points along with sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart who scored 31 of his own as North Texas defeated the Bears 96-67 at the Super Pit, further extending their season.

McCasland called Duffy “The X-Factor” in the Mean Green’s blowout victory.

“It’s really nothing new,” Duffy said of his performance.” The coaching staff and my teammates know what I’m capable of doing, it’s just been a rough year for me. It’s starting to come together for me now.”

North Texas (17-17) jumped out to a 18-6 lead in just over five minutes and never allowed Mercer (19-15) to cut the deficit to less than eight with the largest Mean Green lead reaching 29 on the final bucket of the game.

The team as a whole shot 12-of-29 from 3-point land, 41.4 percent with Smart and Duffy combining to go 10-of-23 from deep.

In two CBI tournament games, the Mean Green have shot 26-of-63 on 3-pointers, 41.3 percent.

“Getting stops and pushing in transition [helps us],” Smart said. “DJ, Ryan and Duffy do a great job of penetrating and [we] just have to be ready to shoot [and] hit shots.”

The defensive intensity matched their offensive output in the win, only allowing Mercer to shoot 35.4 percent from the field while shooting 55.9 percent themselves.

“Our guys competed at one of the highest levels we competed all year in order to allow ourselves a chance to separate like we did,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “For us to guard them like we did tonight said a lot about our toughness. We’ve had some close games in the Super Pit so it’s a blessing to be able to have a game like this for our fans, the university, the students and our team.”

Duffy also dished out four assists when he put the ball on the floor while Smart finished with a team-high 11 rebounds. Sophomore point guard Ryan Woolridge picked his spots and scored 12 points on 5-of-5 shooting while tying a career-high with 11 assists along with four blocks.

With the win, the Mean Green advance to the semifinals, or the “Final Four” as Smart said, of the CBI with their game coming on Wednesday at 7 p.m. back in the Super Pit with the opponent to be determined later tonight.

For a team that is returning every active player currently playing in this tournament, the motivation to keep winning stems from one thing.

“Just getting experience to play in the postseason, then we get a chance to cut down nets if we win this thing,” Smart said. “I think that’s where the motivation is.”

Featured Image: North Texas junior guard Jorden Duffy (2) drives the lane against Mercer. North Texas faced off against Mercer on Monday at the Super Pit in Denton, Texas., Monday, March, 19, 2018, Super Pit in Denton, Texas. Jake King/DRC

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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