North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball defeats UTEP 66-58 at home

Men’s basketball defeats UTEP 66-58 at home

Men’s basketball defeats UTEP 66-58 at home
February 07
22:52 2022

Men’s basketball extended their win streak to nine Monday night, beating the University of Texas-El Paso 66-58 at home. 

After a slow start in the first half, North Texas (17-4, 9-1 Conference USA) surged in the second half, outscoring UTEP (14-9, 7-4 C-USA) 39-31. Senior forward Thomas Bell III led the Mean Green in scoring with 18 points on the night.

Reaching the free throw line 29 times in the contest, North Texas scored 17 points from the line compared to UTEP’s six.

Head coach Grant McCasland attributes the team’s ability to draw fouls for the win. 

“I thought we got a lot of great production from a lot of different guys,” McCasland said. “It was our ability to get to the free-throw line, that was the difference.”

Junior guard Jamal Bieniemy led the first half in scoring for both teams, hitting seven shots for 15 points, sparking a quick 7-2 run for UTEP to begin the contest. The Miners remained in front for a majority of the first half until a 3-pointer from North Texas first-half leader in points, senior guard Mardrez McBride gave the Mean Green their first lead of the night.

“UTEP is a really good team, they came out pretty hot,” Bell said. “We fought them pretty well when it was time to.”

The second half began with both teams going back and forth. With 18:02 to go in the second half, a 3-pointer from senior guard JJ Murray broke the deadlock, making it a 34-31 contest. UTEP stayed close for a majority of the second half before a late North Texas run finally put the Miners away.

North Texas was able to contain Bieniemy to two points in the second half after a hot start for the junior guard. Sophomore forward About Ousmane said that limiting open shots for Bieniemy was key in slowing his production in the second half.

“It’s just locking in,” Ousmane said. “When we finally decided we weren’t going to let [Bieniemy] get the easy buckets, the easy threes, we were able to do what we wanted to do.” 

The Mean Green’s main scoring threat, junior guard Tylor Perry, was held to just three points on the night, tying his season-low in scoring this season. Perry only took four shots total on the night, filling in the role as a passer rather than a scorer. 

“[UTEP] is a hard hedge team, they go really aggressive,” McCasland said. “But, it’s like they took [Perry] out, but they didn’t, because he was really able to get it to who we needed to get it to.”

The Mean Green will have a chance to extend their winning streak to 10 versus Rice University in Houston on Saturday.

Featured Image: Sophomore guard Rubin Jones dribbles the ball towards a Charlotte defender on Jan. 20, 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

Senior Sports Writer.

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