North Texas Daily

ICYMI: Men’s basketball advances to Conference USA semifinals

ICYMI: Men’s basketball advances to Conference USA semifinals

ICYMI: Men’s basketball advances to Conference USA semifinals
March 11
13:33 2022

Men’s basketball advanced to the Conference USA tournament semifinals, defeating Rice University 68-50 on Thursday night.

Sophomore forward Abou Ousmane was named Player of the Game, leading North Texas (24-5, 16-2 C-USA) with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks on 8-10 shooting. With the win, the Mean Green advance to the conference semifinals for the second year in a row. 

Senior forward Thomas Bell finished with 15 points and seven rebounds. North Texas’ 3-point shooting was headed by junior guard Tylor Perry, who went 4-7 from behind the arc.

“We have an advantage every night [in the paint] with me and [Thomas Bell], especially when he’s on,” Ousmane said. “It’s hard to stop him offensively, so every night we have that advantage.” 

Coming off a road loss to the University of Texas-El Paso, which was its first loss since Jan. 6, North Texas got ahead early, carrying a 35-17 lead into halftime on 16-28 shooting. The team worked inside early, scoring its first 20 points from short-range. At the end of the half, 22 of the 35 points that the Mean Green scored came from inside the paint.

“We knew we would have to be great early,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “Our team, offensively, went where we needed to [..] which was to Abou [Ousmane].”

In the first half, Rice shot 6-20 with one 3-pointer, and the Owls ran into multiple scoring droughts, including a ten minute stretch with zero made shots. McCasland said the mentality during that stretch was to find ways to get stops even if they were not scoring.

Coming into the contest, Rice had the No. 1 ranked 3-point percentage in C-USA, and finished the game with two 3-pointers on 12 attempts. The Owls’ 16.7 percent shooting from deep was the lowest mark since their first game of the season.

North Texas maintained control of the lead in the second half, with the smallest point differential being 15 points. Senior guard Mardrez McBride led the scoring in the final half with 11 points on nine shots.

After Louisiana Tech’s 59-57 victory over Western Kentucky University, North Texas will take on the Bulldogs at 11:30 a.m. Friday at The Star in Frisco. The winner will advance to the conference finals.

Featured Image: Chris Morgan and the team celebrate a play on Feb. 7, 2022. Photo by Kristian Freeman

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Tyler Luker

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