North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball falls on the road in blowout loss to FAU

Men’s basketball falls on the road in blowout loss to FAU

February 24
21:24 2018

The last time North Texas trailed in a game by more than 15, freshman guard Umoja Gibson was a starter and it was the team’s second game of the year.

The Mean Green suffered their worst defeat of the season Saturday night in Boca Raton, losing to the Owls 74-54.

“It’s just a matter of giving a lot of effort, but not very smart basketball defensively,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “It showed our inexperience and it was the first time we got sped up so fast we were just trying to come back too quick and I didn’t do a good job tonight of making sure we were executing and playing with pace.”

North Texas’ (14-15, 7-9) final lead of the game came with 4:05 left in the first half when they led Florida Atlantic 26-24. To close the half, FAU (12-16, 6-10) went on a 10-0 run and seized the momentum that North Texas never regained for the remainder of the game.

Sophomore guard DJ Draper made his first start of his college career and shot 2-of-5 all of which came from behind the arc. One of his backcourt mates, sophomore Roosevelt Smart, had a rough outing as he was in foul trouble for the majority of his 21 minutes in the game. Smart finished with eight points.

This threw a wrench in McCasland’s plans heading into the game with the two starting beside sophomore guard Ryan Woolridge.

“Rose getting two fouls early in the game did make it tough,” McCasland said. “We kind of game planned around him and him being out of the game maybe stalled us when we were up [26-24].”

Woolridge finished the night with eight points and one assist in his 36 minutes of play and McCasland said FAU did the best job defending him of any team they have faced this season.

Sophomore guard A.J. Lawson led the team in scoring with 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting and eight rebounds.

As a team, though, North Texas finished the game shooting 31.3 percent from the field and 19 percent from 3-point range.

“We didn’t execute offensively,” Lawson said. “We played at their pace instead of our own.”

The game broke open when the game sped up in the middle of the second half. The Owls’ lead went from three at nearly the 16:00 mark to 20 at the 6:00 minute point.

The loss marks the longest losing streak of the season for the Mean Green, five, and McCasland and company have now fallen into a tie for seventh in the conference with their final two games coming at home next week.

This is the first time all conference season the game was not within six at some point in the final five minutes.

“We just had quite a few errors [knowing] the scouting report,” McCasland said. “That has to be where we start doing a good job on the defensive end. Offensively, [tonight] is on me. I can’t allow us to play wild. I have to do a better job of managing the game and this is the first time I feel like I let the game get away from us.”

Next up: The Mean Green look to get back into the win column against the University of Texas at San Antonio Thursday at 7 p.m. at home.

Featured image: North Texas sophomore guard A.J. Lawson (1) attempts to shoot the ball against Marshall. Marshall faced off against North Texas Saturday at the Super Pit in Denton, Texas., Saturday, February, 17, 2018, Super Pit in Denton, Texas. Jake King/DRC

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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