North Texas Daily

Late turnovers cost men’s basketball chance at win in regular season finale

Late turnovers cost men’s basketball chance at win in regular season finale

Freshman guard A.J. Lawson drives the basket in transition against Hartford. Colin Mitchell

Late turnovers cost men’s basketball chance at win in regular season finale
March 04
22:45 2017

In what could be the final game on the North Texas sideline for head coach Tony Benford, the Mean Green (8-22, 2-16) had two critical turnovers down the stretch that allowed Marshall University to win 106-104.

North Texas blew a one-point lead after a turnover on an inbounds pass gave Marshall (17-14, 10-8) forward Ryan Taylor the go-ahead layup with 6.9 seconds remaining in the game. 

After another turnover by North Texas allowed the Thundering Herd to extend the lead on a free throw with just four seconds to go in the final game of the season. 

With one final chance to send the game to overtime, freshman guard A.J. Lawson sprinted coast-to-coast but missed a layup at the final buzzer.

Lawson led UNT in scoring with  26 points, fifteen of which came in the second half. Despite his strong performance, free throws were a struggle for as he went just 4-of-12 from the line.

“He’s got to continue to work on those [free throws],” Benford said. “But he did a great job of playing hard and making plays for us.

North Texas displayed one of its best shooting performances of the season in the loss and had its highest scoring output against a Division I team in the Tony Benford era. The Mean Green shot over 60 percent field and 44 percent from 3-point range. 

North Texas also managed to tie its season-high by scoring 53 points in the first half.

J-Mychal Reese tied his career high of 25 points in his final game in a North Texas uniform, scoring 13 in the second half to help the Mean Green stay in it down the stretch. Shane Temara led all scorers off the bench with 13.

Freshman guard Ryan Woolridge nearly had a double-double with a 10 point, 8 assist effort. Three of those assists came within the final minutes to help put the Mean Green up by five.

“He did a great job of creating for himself and his teammates,” head coach Tony Benford said, “Ryan’s one of those guys that rebounds the ball and has a good ability to pass.

North Texas was already out of contention for the Conference USA tournament, and now heads into the off-season without knowing who will take over the program moving forward.

Benford’s contract exprired at the conclusion of the this season, and it remains to be seen if it will be renewed or not.

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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