North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball ends losing streak behind barage of 3-pointers

Men’s basketball ends losing streak behind barage of 3-pointers

March 01
23:53 2018

Coming off of a five game losing streak and their worst loss of the season, the Mean Green met the University of Texas at San Antonio Thursday night at the Super Pit.

UTSA was a team playing their first game without leading scorer Jhivvan Jackson who suffered a season ending injury in the first half of the Roadrunners previous game against Louisiana Tech.

These two teams played a thriller in San Antonio in late December when North Texas held on for the win, but this time, the Mean Green won 80-62.

The 18 point victory is the largest conference win since Feb. 28 of 2013, when North Texas was in the Sun Belt Conference.

“Coming in, with Jackson out, you don’t know if some people are going to have career nights, [but] you could tell it really affected them offensively,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “We haven’t had a game where we had this kind of separation in a long time. [This was] one of, if not our most, complete wins in conference.”

The Mean Green (15-15. 8-9) were unable to separate from the Roadrunners (17-13, 10-7) early on, though, leading 24-23 with under five minutes left in the first half.

Before long, a 3-pointer by senior forward Shane Temara followed by two more 3-pointers by sophomore guard DJ Draper swelled their lead to 33-23 and UTSA never cut the deficit to less than five for the remainder of the game.

North Texas continued to bombard the Roadrunners with 3-pointers for the rest of the night, finishing 12-of-24 for the game.

“We were shooting well but Ryan, A.J. and [Allante] were doing a great job of penetrating and pitching and getting two to guard one,” Draper said. “[They] were kicking out and they were pretty open threes for us.”

Draper finished with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting from behind the arc and was joined by sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart who scored 22 points despite not finding the range from 3-point range until the second half.

Defensively, the Mean Green held UTSA to 35.6 percent shooting for the game and only 18 points in the paint.

“[It was] not only guarding the ball, but when they got below the free throw line we had to be more physical guarding the ball and that’s what we didn’t do well at FAU,” McCasland said. “This time we really did a good job of being physical and making them play through bodies.”

It was a performance the team needed after their previous outings, especially with the conference tournament merely days away.

“Just getting back to how we play and the grit we usually play with.” Smart said of their mindset. “We knew that we had two home games left and we wanted to come out and play hard and win these two going into the conference tournament.”

Next up: North Texas wraps up their season at home against the University of Texas at El Paso Saturday at 5 p.m.

Featured image: DENTON TEXAS, March 1: University of North Texas Mean Green Men’s Basketball v University of Texas at San Antonio at the Super Pit in Denton on March 1, 2018 (Photo Rick Yeatts Photography/Colin Mitchell)

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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