Men’s basketball falls to Rutgers, losing streak now at three games

Men’s basketball falls to Rutgers, losing streak now at three games

Freshman guard A.J. Lawson dribbles up court against Drexel. Colin Mitchell

Men’s basketball falls to Rutgers, losing streak now at three games
November 23
21:33 2016

Despite a strong first half, North Texas men’s basketball could not hold on for its first win against a Division-1 opponent, falling to Rutgers University 66-53 in New York.

Junior forward Jeremy Combs did not play, and is resting and recuperating from ankle surgery he had during the offseason. In his absence, senior guard Deckie Johnson and junior forward Shane Temara shouldered the load, scoring 13 and 14 points, respectively. Temara provided a spark off the bench and had his first big game in a Mean Green (1-3) uniform.

On the other side for Rutgers (4-0), junior forward Deshawn Freeman finished with a double-double, recording 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Even though the loss extends his team’s losing streak to three games, head coach Tony Benford thought his team showed some passion, especially in the first half.

“I give Rutgers credit,” Benford said. “They’re a very physical team. “I’m very proud of how our guys played in the first half. In the second half we came out and they got some easy baskets. Our guys battled.”

Rutgers finished with 13 second-chance points, outscoring the Mean Green 13-5 in the category.

North Texas had a positive first half, and entered halftime with a slim 25-24 advantage. Graduate forward Derail Green had eight points in the first half, powering the Mean Green to a lead entering the locker room.

“I was just staying aggressive and looking for my shots,” Green said. “We were playing aggressive. We had a lot of effort. We played hard on both ends of the court. I feel like we played hard the whole game”

But the Scarlett Knights came out swinging in the second half, and punched North Texas in the mouth with a 13-0 run that allowed them to pull away. Rutgers had three scorers in double digits and moved the ball well in the final 20 minutes, putting the Mean Green behind the eight ball.

“We were just getting beat in transition,” Green said. “We just got to get back home and lock in on that.”

Although North Texas has not won since its season opener more than 10 days ago, being able to hang with Rutgers for at least a half have the Mean Green a glimmer of hope.

“It’s a confidence booster,” Temara said.

Next up: North Texas hosts Niagra University at 7 p.m. Friday.

Featured Image: Freshman guard A.J. Lawson dribbles up court against Drexel. Colin Mitchell

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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