North Texas Daily

Late rally pushes men’s basketball to first-ever NIT win

Late rally pushes men’s basketball to first-ever NIT win

Late rally pushes men’s basketball to first-ever NIT win
March 16
15:39 2022

Men’s basketball advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on Tuesday after defeating Texas State University in overtime by a score of 67-63.

The win marked the 25th of the season for the Mean Green (25-6), good enough for the most single-season wins in school history. It was also the first overtime contest the team took part in this season as it notched the program’s first win at the NIT in the team’s first berth in the tournament.

“[We have] been through too many games together that we’ve found a way,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “You don’t stop playing until you get to the buzzer. […] You just keep trying to navigate ways to do it.”

Because North Texas holds the No. 2 seed in the NIT, it will play another home game against the winner of Mississippi State University taking on the University of Virginia at a time and date yet to be determined. Mississippi State and Virginia will face off Wednesday night.

Senior guard Mardrez McBride led the scoring for the Mean Green as he put up a career-high 24 points with six made 3-pointers. Senior forward Thomas Bell dished out five assists and sophomore forward Abou Ousmane snagged 10 rebounds, both game-highs.

The first half opened up with a barrage of 3-pointers from McBride and sophomore guard Rubin Jones who had three apiece through the first 20 minutes.

Down by six points with 39 seconds left in regulation, the Mean Green looked to junior guard Tylor Perry who scored five of the final six points for North Texas to tie the game. The ball was in Perry’s hands in the final five seconds of the second half as he launched a deep 3-pointer for the win before he was fouled on the shot. After hitting 2-of-3 free throws, the score was deadlocked at 57-57 and the game went to overtime.

“We felt like we had grabbed the momentum,” McBride said. “They thought the game was over but we fought back hard. In overtime, we just felt like it was right there.”

In overtime, North Texas outscored Texas State (21-8) 10-6 and went 8-for-10 from the free throw line. Prior to the extended period, the Mean Green shot 25 percent from the charity stripe (2-of-8).

“We’ve been shut out our whole lives so we like to prove doubters wrong,” McBride said. “Tylor [Perry] came up big down the stretch. He made plays and got fouled on the 3-pointer. That helped us a lot.”

Featured Image: Rubin Jones jumps towards the net on Feb. 7, 2022. Photo by Kristian Freeman

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Tyler Luker

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