North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball loses eighth straight game, the longest skid of Tony Benford era

Men’s basketball loses eighth straight game, the longest skid of Tony Benford era

January 21
21:43 2017

Clay Massey | Senior Staff Writer

It was a song and dance head coach Tony Benford has seen many times this season.

Entering halftime the game was close. North Texas only trailed by three in a mostly back and forth affair.

But in the second half, Louisiana Tech University blew the doors off the Mean Green’s (6-13, 0-7) unstable fortress.

North Texas was outscored 48-27 in the second half on its way to an 81-57 loss. The Mean Green have now lost eight straight games, which is the longest losing streak in Benford’s five seasons at the helm of the program.

“We played with poise early,” Benford said. “I thought the group we had in there [in the first half] played really well. I thought we did a good job of managing the first half. They have a lot of guys that can score. It got away from us in the second half early.”

Injuries continue to ravage the Mean Green, as junior forward Jeremy Combs was forced to sit out after experiencing more ankle pain. Combs will see a doctor on Monday.

“We just felt like it was best to hold Jeremy out right now,” Benford said. “He wanted to go but I told him no. First of all, I’m concerned about his health.”

Combs joined freshman center Rickey Brice Jr., who has now missed two straight games, and senior guard Keith Frazier, who did not travel on the team’s road trip.

Combs’ absence made room for junior forward Shane Temara to make his second straight start after cracking the starting five against the University of Southern Mississippi. Temara made the most of his opportunity, especially in the first half.

At halftime, Temara had eight points and nine rebounds.

“I got the opportunity because Jeremy is out,” Temara said. “What else is there to do? I just grabbed some boards.”

But the Bulldogs (14-6, 6-1) adjusted, and shut down Temara in the second half. The rabid Bulldog defense did the same with senior forward Derail Green. Green and Temara did not score in the second half, while Temara added three more rebounds.
Temara finished with 12 rebounds and eight points while Green notched eight first-half points.

“[Temara] just couldn’t find the basket in the second half,” Benford said. “He rebounded the ball well.”

North Texas’ leading scorer was sophomore guard Ja’Michael Brown with 11 points.

Louisiana Tech, on the other hand, had two players with big nights. Junior guard Jacobi Boykins led with 20 points and 10 rebounds while senior guard Erik McCree added 14 points and 13 rebounds of his own.

“We had a couple of defensive lapses,” Green said. “I think we did a good job on [McCree]. He took a lot of shots and only got 14. You’ll take that.”

The Mean Green now return home after yet another winless road trip. North Texas has not won on the road since Jan 1., 2016 – 390 days ago.

North Texas faces the University of North Carolina at Charlotte at home on Thursday, Jan. 26. The 49ers defeated the Mean Green 101-76 on New Year’s Eve.

“We’ve got to keep playing hard,” Benford said. “Obviously we’re disappointed with where we’re at now. Nobody has given up. We get a chance to go home and hopefully get some Ws.”

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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