North Texas Daily

Mean Green men’s basketball loses to Rice, drops three straight games

Mean Green men’s basketball loses to Rice, drops three straight games

Mean Green men’s basketball loses to Rice, drops three straight games
February 06
23:18 2014

Akshay Mirchandani // Staff Writer

With a win Thursday night in Houston, the Mean Green men’s basketball team would have avoided its longest losing streak of the season and pushed Rice University to last in the Conference USA standings.

Unfortunately, things didn’t go that way as UNT fell 75-70 (11-11, 2-6), extending its losing streak to three. The Mean Green struggled on offense all game and shot 38.2 percent from the field, including 31.6 percent from the three-point line.

“I give those guys credit, they outplayed us,” head coach Tony Benford said. “We played 25, 20 good minutes of basketball, but this is a 40 minute game.”

To start the game, the biggest issue for the Mean Green was defense. Rice (7-15, 2-7) went on a 17-2 run early to open a 17-point lead with 10:58 remaining in the first half. However, UNT fought back and cut the deficit to 37-31 at halftime.

“We came out a little sluggish for whatever reason,” Benford said. “I give Rice credit, they made some shots and we didn’t get out to them, and then we made a run and started playing better defense at the end of the first half.”

Nullifying the solid defense played by the Mean Green, UNT shot 36.8 percent in the second half and struggled to get over the hump.

“We missed a lot of bunnies as far as layups, and just a lot of jump shots that we usually make that just didn’t fall for us,” senior guard Brandan Walton said. “I couldn’t tell you why, sometimes it’s just not your night, shooting wise.”

One positive the team will take away is the improvement on defense after allowing 94 points on 57.1 percent shooting on the road against the University of Tulsa in the 94-60 loss Feb. 1.

“We just dug down and said we need to get a stop and cut into this lead for the second half,” said senior guard Alzee Williams, who had a team-high 18 points. “We got to come out stronger. We didn’t come out good and we let the lead jump on us.”

The Mean Green will conclude its three-game road trip in the next game against Louisiana Tech University at 6 p.m. Saturday. With an 18-5 overall record and a 6-2 conference record, Louisiana Tech is third in the C-USA standings.

Feature photo: Junior guard T.J. Taylor shoots the ball during a home game against Middle Tennessee on Jan. 25 at the Super Pit. Photo by Nicole Arnold / Visuals Editor 

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