North Texas Daily

Late surge pushes men’s basketball to win in season opener

Late surge pushes men’s basketball to win in season opener

Late surge pushes men’s basketball to win in season opener
November 08
18:43 2022

Men’s basketball opened its season Monday night with a 53-47 win over Southern Nazarene University after playing from behind for most of the game’s second half.

The team was without two key players as sophomore guard Rubin Jones is recovering from a knee injury and senior guard Tylor Perry was out for precautionary reasons due to an injury sustained this week. Junior forward Abou Ousmane and senior guard Kai Huntsberry led the Mean Green (1-0) with 23 and 20 points respectively. 23 points is a career-high for Ousmane. 

“I knew without [Perry and Jones] that I would have to make a bigger impact, and coming into the game I was just really focused,” Ousmane said. 

The game was Huntsberry’s first for North Texas, who said his love for basketball was ultimately able to keep him calm and locked in during high-pressure situations throughout the game. 

“I always feel like I can play better,” Huntsberry said. “It was fun to just play basketball really. We executed what coach told us, whether it was on offense or defense. We got some stops down the stretch, and the most important thing, we got a lot of rebounds and second-chance points.”

North Texas was unable to stay consistent with scoring in the first half as it made 8 of 26 field goal attempts and a single three-pointer which came in the first two minutes from Huntsberry. Southern Nazarene was able to come away with a 23-19 lead at halftime with a final three-point jumper and a pair of free throws. 

“We played different than what we practiced just due to a lack of numbers,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “With the game being tight, it affected the guys who had not had experience yet. The game was closer than we had hoped.”

The second half scoring began with three points from the Crimson Storm to increase their lead and quiet the Mean Green fans in the Super Pit. An alley-oop from Ousmane brought back some energy which carried over to a three-pointer from freshman guard Christian Moore, prompting a loud cheer from the North Texas crowd. 

Huntsberry followed up Moore’s three with two consecutive scores to put the Mean Green up by one.

“That is what we saw in [Christian Moore] in the summer when we recruited him and that is what we have seen pretty consistently of him this fall,” McCasland said. “Christian came in and really played fearless.”  

Southern Nazarene reclaimed its lead as the game became a back-and-forth contest through the last seven minutes. Free throws from Huntsberry ultimately sealed the Mean Green’s victory as he went 8-8 from the line in the last four minutes of the game.

McCasland credited sophomore guard Aaron Scott and Ousmane’s efforts on offensive rebounds as the game-winning factors. With eight turnovers for North Texas and 19 for Southern Nazarene, he said the defensive effort was critical to winning. 

“We knew when we scheduled [Southern Nazarene] that they would be really good,” McCasland said. “We needed a game like this. I’m proud of our guys for fighting and finding a way to win.”

The Mean Green look to take home their second win on Sunday when they face Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California.

Featured Image: Kai Huntsberry dribbles down the court on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo by John Anderson

About Author

Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad