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Men’s basketball backcourt combines for 51 points in win over Sam Houston State

Men’s basketball backcourt combines for 51 points in win over Sam Houston State

North Texas sophomore Jeremy Combs (1) gets a rebound against Sam Houston on Tuesday, December 29, 2015. Photo by Kristen Watson/DRC

Men’s basketball backcourt combines for 51 points in win over Sam Houston State
December 30
00:24 2015

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

The backcourt of junior guards Deckie Johnson and J-Mychal Reese and freshman guard Ja’Michael Brown combined for 51 of North Texas’ 69 points on Tuesday night and led the Mean Green to a crucial 69-64 victory in its final non-conference game of the season over Sam Houston State University.

For Johnson, it was a career high, scoring 27 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Head coach Tony Benford said the team’s backcourt play should be attributed to each person trusting one another.

“[Johnson] played off his teammates,” Benford said. “They’re starting to trust one another better. They know Deckie can make shots, and his role is to shoot the basketball. I don’t know if you’ll have a more efficient night than he had. His teammates will be the first to tell you. They got him the ball at the right time.”

North Texas primarily shot from the perimeter in the first half but transitioned to a more attacking approach in the second half. The result was Sam Houston State committing more fouls and leaving passing lanes open for Mean Green shooters.

The trio of Johnson, Reese and Brown immediately took advantage, as the tandem finished 7 of 13 from beyond the arc. Reese said the ability to drive and kick the ball has become a weapon for North Texas.

North Texas junior guard J-Mychal Reese (52) drives the ball down the court against Sam Houston on Tuesday, December 29, 2015. Photo by Kristen Watson/DRC

North Texas junior guard J-Mychal Reese (52) drives the ball down the court against Sam Houston. Kristen Watson | DRC

“Being able to get in the lane, it just makes it easier for us,” Reese said. “We might have a wide open three for Deckie or a wide open three for [Brown.] Being able to get in the paint is why we score so easily.”

Brown provided a much needed spark off the bench and shot 75 percent from the three point line. He finished with 11 points, including two crucial baskets in the final minutes of the game.

Brown said having multiple shooters on the team keeps defenses honest and makes it hard on them to keep track of all North Texas’ shotmakers.

“By us putting pressure on the defense and forcing them to rotate, someone is going to be open,” Brown said. “Everyone is able to play off the backcourt. The way we are able to get in the paint helps a lot.”

The victory marked the last game in non-conference play for North Texas before it plays its first Conference USA opponent on New Year’s Day. Benford said he is pleased with the direction his team is trending and thought the win against the Bearkats was essential.

“If these guys continue to buy in and get stops, we can win a lot of games because we can score the basketball,” Benford said. “I thought we ended non-conference play on a good note tonight.”

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore Jeremy Combs (1) gets a rebound against Sam Houston. Kristen Watson | DRC

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