North Texas Daily

Mean Green men’s basketball suffers home blowout against UTEP

Mean Green men’s basketball suffers home blowout against UTEP

Mean Green men’s basketball suffers home blowout against UTEP
March 02
17:05 2014

John Lugo // Sports Editor

Loud cheers erupted throughout the game from the crowd of 1,274 people in the Super Pit Sunday afternoon, though they mostly came from the visiting side of the arena.

The University of Texas at El Paso Miners defeated UNT 74-54 Sunday afternoon in the Super Pit. The Mean Green men’s basketball team held a 2-0 lead at 30 seconds into the game, but that would be the team’s only lead.

After scoring the first basket, UNT (15-14, 6-9) allowed 15 straight points by UTEP (21-9, 11-4). The team struggled early on with the Miners’ defense, which ranks ninth in the nation in opposing field goal percentage at 38.6 percent.

The Miners held the Mean Green to a 25.8 field goal percentage, the worst percentage for a single game in five years. Benford said UNT struggled heavily since UTEP had a clear height advantage.

“They do a great job of keeping in front of you. But then when you get by them, they’re so long across that front line,” head coach Tony Benford said. “They really challenge you and contest every shot and make it difficult to finish.”

The centers on the team combined for two total rebounds, which disappointed Benford and junior guard Jordan Williams, who said the team got outplayed around the basket.

“We played hard, we just got out-manned today,” Williams said. “I don’t think they [centers] showed up today, to be honest.”

After nearly doubling UNT’s field goal percentage in the first half — 44.4 percent to 22.6 percent — the Miners upped its field goal percentage to 59.1 percent in the second half to keep UNT from making a comeback. The Mean Green never drew closer than 14 points.

Senior guard Brandan Walton fouled out of the game with 12:52 remaining after committing two quick fouls and receiving a technical foul for pushing off UTEP’s John Bohannon after their arms got tangled up. Senior guard Alzee Williams said that was one of the points of the game that really hurt the chances at building momentum.

“It was just frustrating knowing we were trying to give it our all, but the lead just wasn’t cutting down,” Alzee said.

Jordan had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Alzee led in scoring with 15 points. The loss broke the team’s four-game win streak.

The Mean Green has one more game at 7 p.m. March 6 in the Super Pit against the University of Tulsa before heading to El Paso March 12 for the Conference USA tournament.

Feature photo: Junior guard Jordan Williams wrestles for the ball against two University of Texas at El Paso defenders. Williams scored nine of 10 free throw attempts during Saturday afternoon’s loss at the Super Pit. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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