North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball defeats Texas-El Paso for third straight win

Men’s basketball defeats Texas-El Paso for third straight win

Men’s basketball defeats Texas-El Paso for third straight win
January 28
23:26 2023

North Texas won its third straight conference game Saturday night in a 52-42 win over the University of Texas-El Paso. 

Three players scored in double digits and senior guard Tylor Perry led the game in scoring with 18 points. The defense had a season-low in points allowed. 

“We really thought our ability to handle [Texas El-Paso’s] pressure and not turn the ball over made the difference in the game,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “We were able to manage the game and not get pressured into shooting a shot in the first 10 seconds.”

The game was back-and-forth until North Texas (18-5, 9-3 Conference USA) pulled away with five minutes left in the first half. The Mean Green took a nine-point lead following an 8-0 run. Texas-El Paso (10-3, 4-6) then went on a 6-0 run to take a 4-point lead at halftime. 

“We had a hard time finishing layups over the course of the game until the end,” McCasland said. “I thought we had better finishing as the game went on.”

Sophomore guard Aaron Scott scored four quick points to begin the second half. Texas-El Paso stayed in the game and came within one point midway through the half. A 3-pointer by senior guard Kai Huntsberry set off a 7-0 run which carried North Texas to victory. 

“The main thing coach was saying is that we have enough points, so our main focus was trying to get stops,” Huntsberry said. “[Texas-El Paso] did a really good job rebounding. I feel like we came down and we just had to execute, get some stops and we got rebounds when it mattered.” 

Sophomore forward Moulaye Sissoko picked up the most minutes he has played in a game this season. McCasland credited him for stepping up and said he “played great.”

“Coming to the game, we knew that it was going to be a physical game,” Sissoko said. “We had to get our mind right and be ready to compete for 40 minutes.”

The Mean Green outscored Texas-El Paso by six points in the second half. The Miners had 17 turnovers which North Texas scored 17 points off of. McCasland said simple plays and a physical defense were the key to victory. 

“The game plan was to try to make sure that we made as many simple plays as we could,” McCasland said. “We did a good job guarding them without fouling, we got to the free throw line more than they did and we were able to stay between them and the basket.”

After the game, the team entered the student section to celebrate the win. Both the players and McCasland said they were thankful for the fans following the contest.  

“I am just so appreciative of our students — we’ve had 1,300 students in back-to-back games, we used to have 20,” McCasland said. “They make a difference. They build momentum, and when a crowd senses that we need a stop and they can get into the game, it makes a big difference. I’m hoping that it will start to catch on and it can be a part of a home court that is difficult to win every night.”

The Mean Green remain No. 2 in C-USA and will travel to Houston to face Rice on Feb. 4.

Featured Image Forward Jayden Martinez dribbles down the court in a game against UTEP on Jan. 28, 2023. Photo by Matt Iaia

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Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

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