North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball falls in thriller to Hervey-led Mavericks

Men’s basketball falls in thriller to Hervey-led Mavericks

December 02
22:51 2017

Facing arguably its toughest opponent to date, North Texas took the short bus ride to Arlington Saturday night to meet the University of Texas at Arlington.

With the preseason Sun-Belt Conference Player of the Year in senior forward Kevin Hervey, UTA entered with its only loss coming to top-25 ranked Oklahoma University by one point. But the Mean Green came out fighting, especially on the glass.

North Texas outrebounded the Mavericks 29-16 in the first 20 minutes and only trailed UTA by two at the half.

But in the end, Hervey and the Mavericks (7-1) were too much as they defeated the Mean Green 65-60.

“The guys on the court played really hard and got us back in the game,” sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart said.”We just came up short and they made some tough plays down the stretch so we just lost it.”

North Texas (4-5) held a one-point lead with two minutes left in the game and were tied with 45 seconds left. After Hervey sunk a tough post hook with 22 seconds left, the Mean Green trailed by two and needed a response.

McCasland went to sophomore A.J. Lawson for the bucket and got a good look out of it at the rim, but the Mavericks’ length bothered the shot just enough to force a miss. UTA sunk the ensuing free throws after a North Texas foul and escaped with the win.

“This is one that got away,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “[UTA] didn’t play their best game, let’s be honest. We didn’t play well enough early as a team and we had some stretches where we didn’t stay together. This one hurts because of the lack of unity and the way we played for 40 minutes.”

The Mean Green ended up winning the battle of the boards 49-38, but McCasland is speaking on the belief that his team is capable of beating a very talented team.

North Texas’ leading rebounder was senior forward Shane Temara, who finished the night with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 14 rebounds.

“Just getting a body on them early,” Temara said. “For the most part we were competing on the glass, getting rebounds.”

Sophomore guard Ryan Woolridge pitched in six points and seven rebounds before fouling out late in the second half. Fellow sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart hit timely 3-pointers, including a bank shot that tied the game at 53-53 with 4:45 left in regulation.

Along with Woolridge, the primary ball handler, fouling out, junior guard Jorden Duffy went down with a left leg injury in the second half. Regardless, the offense was able to create good looks late in the second half to give themselves a chance.

“Ryan and A.J. did a good job of penetrating and kicking it out, we just didn’t make shots in the first half,” Smart said. “In the second half we kind of got going but it just wasn’t enough. 

The primary ball-handling duties fell to sophomore guard DJ Draper.Defensively, he did a solid job on senior guard Erick Neal and his offensive abilities were highlighted by six points and only one turnover in 21 minutes.

However, it was his poise is what impressed his teammates.

“DJ handled himself pretty good,” Temara said. “And I thought [all the guards] did pretty good overall, maybe early turnovers were bad but they were passing pretty good [late].”

While it is a loss that showed a lot of potential for the team, McCasland has a few concerns moving forward that did not show on the court.

“As a team, we have a long way to go,” McCasland said. “From a belief standpoint and a buy-in standpoint, we’re still not all the way there. It doesn’t matter how close the game is, you just can’t win.”

Featured Image (File Photo): North Texas sophomore guard Ryan Woolridge (0) drives the lane against Rogers State. 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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