North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball defeats Rice to continue conference win streak

Men’s basketball defeats Rice to continue conference win streak

Men’s basketball defeats Rice to continue conference win streak
February 05
11:00 2023

Men’s Basketball won its fourth straight conference game in a 74-64 win against Rice University in Houston on Saturday. 

North Texas (19-5, 10-3 Conference USA) saw four players score double figures in the rematch against the Owls (15-8, 6-6), who beat the Mean Green 72-60 earlier this season. Senior guard Kai Huntsberry led the game in scoring with 21 points. 

“It was a great team effort,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “Our guys know that we came here to win championships and that’s the standard. In order to do that, you have to win games on the road and protect your home court. Rice beat us at our place, so I think there was a clear understanding that we needed to be more competitive from tip to buzzer.” 

The Mean Green entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the nation for scoring defense, holding its opponents to an average of 54.7 points. 

Sophomore guard Aaron Scott opened the scoring with a corner three. The teams traded buckets for the first five minutes of the game, and although Rice took a four-point lead about eight minutes in, they could not pull away as the Mean Green tied it 17-17. 

Rice junior forward Max Fiedler currently has the third-best field goal percentage in the nation at 72.9 percent and shot 66.7 percent tonight for 13 points. 

“It puts you in so many binds with how [Rice] moves the ball and the inverted offense with Fiedler on the perimeter,” McCasland said. “You just have to make it as hard as you can for 40 minutes.”

Coming out of a five-minute break due to technical difficulties, senior guard Kai Huntsberry and sophomore guard Rubin Jones each hit a 3-pointer to set off an 8-0 North Texas run. Another three from Huntsberry had the Mean Green 5-5 from deep as they went on to outscore Rice 19-10 in the last 10 minutes of the half. 

The Mean Green led 40-29 at halftime.

“Our offense was great in the first half and I thought that allowed us to settle into what we were doing defensively,” McCasland said. “In the second half, we had a few opportunities to make the simple plays and struggled where we could have separated it earlier.” 

Rice made it a five-point game five minutes into the second half and trailed by three with 11 minutes left. Efficient scoring from Scott, Huntsberry and junior forward Abou Ousmane allowed the Mean Green to maintain their lead and ultimately take home the win. 

McCasland said free throw shooting was a key factor in tonight’s win.

“We made more free throws than they took, and that was a big one for us,” McCasland said. “And they fouled more than we did – they had 20 fouls to our 19. That was a big stat that I thought was the difference.” 

The Mean Green remain No. 2 in C-USA and will face the University of Alabama-Birmingham at home on Feb. 9.

Featured Image A basket is shot by the Mean Green on Jan. 26, 2023. Photo by Maria Crane

About Author

Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad