North Texas Daily

Mean Green basketball drops final road test

Mean Green basketball drops final road test

February 25
22:54 2013

Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer

Sophomore guard Chris Jones returned to the lineup for the Mean Green men’s basketball team against the University of South Alabama Saturday night for the time since December 29. While Jones added six assists and three points to the UNT total, the Mean Green never held a lead and USA won 69-57.

Jones said his foot is fully recovered and hopes his early return will get him ready for the upcoming Sun Belt Conference tournament.

“Game speed is different from practice speed,” Jones said. “Getting a couple minutes here and a couple minutes there that will get my breath back. I won’t be as tired when it comes tournament time.”

The Mean Green successfully executed its plan to limit USA junior forward Augustine Rubit – the Sun Belt Conference’s second best scorer. UNT held Rubit under double-figure scoring, allowing only nine points. Rubit had scored 10 or more in 17 consecutive games and scored less than ten points only one other time this season.

Freshman guard P.J. Hardwick makes a shot at practice before the game starts. Mean Green will face Arkansas State Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the super pit. Photo by Calvin Wu/Intern

South Alabama (16-10, 13-5) head coach Jeff Price said the Mean Green (11-19, 6-13) forced other players besides Rubit to take charge.

“They did a good job making it tough on Aug [Rubit] inside and he had one of those shooting nights, but it’s good to see those other guys step up,” Price said.

On USA’s senior night, UNT kept Rubit’s scoring under control, but he still managed to grab 15 rebounds. South Alabama pulled down 48 boards, nine more than the Mean Green. Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell led rebounding for UNT with 11.

Head coach Tony Benford said rebounds and no offensive rhythm allowed USA to take control of the game.

“Give them credit, it was senior night and they took care of business,” Benford said. “Early on, I thought we were stagnant offensively and we got behind and just couldn’t get a groove. We just didn’t do a good job of keeping them off the boards either and didn’t make a run when we needed to tonight.”

Only two Mean Green players reached double-digit scoring: junior guard Alzee Williams scored 15 and Mitchell had 11.

Williams said the return of Jones changed the rhythm and the team just has to get back in sync.

“With Chris coming back, Jordan [Williams] didn’t have his best shooting night and Tony didn’t do as well,” Alzee Williams said. “Next game we’ll all be on the same page. We’ll be all right.”

UNT plays its final regular season game at home at 7 p.m. Thursday against Arkansas State University.

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