North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball finishes regular season with 34-point win over Western Kentucky

Men’s basketball finishes regular season with 34-point win over Western Kentucky

Men’s basketball finishes regular season with 34-point win over Western Kentucky
March 05
11:57 2023

In its regular-season finale, men’s basketball won a dominant 67-33 game over Western Kentucky University at the Super Pit on Saturday. 

The senior day game recognized guards Tylor Perry, Kai Huntsberry, Rasheed Brown, Tyree Eady and forward Jayden Martinez. With a large lead at the end of the game, the team saw nearly every player on the roster take the court as Western Kentucky was held to its fewest points scored in a game since 1946. 

“On senior day, you don’t always get games like this,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “To be able to honor these guys with the tremendous crowd, and the way we were able to finish the game and have separation where we could celebrate them really was a great day.” 

Perry, the team’s leading scorer this season with an average of 17 points per game, has one year of eligibility left and has not announced whether or not he will return for another season with the Mean Green. 

“It was big just to be in the Pit […] and just have a senior night like we did — to go out and play for these guys next to me, that was the most important thing to me,” Perry said. “It’s been fun. I’m just so proud of the team and how we came together.”

McCasland said Perry’s impact has been felt on and off the court.

“I think he’s best in the biggest moments,” McCasland said. “It’s because he’s a crazy hard worker. He’s up here every night shooting. He’s a winner, but he’s more of a winner in how he lives his life and cares about other people. That’s what I think is most remarkable.” 

Huntsberry, who has started in every game this season for the Mean Green, did not play Saturday after tweaking his ankle in Thursday’s game. Junior guard Rubin Jones took his place in the starting lineup. Huntsberry will return for the Conference USA tournament. 

This is Huntsberry’s first season with the Mean Green, and looking back, he said he is happy with his choice in transferring to North Texas.

“From the beginning of the year, barely knowing anybody, to all of us becoming brothers is the best part,” Huntsberry said. “I’m happy I have them in my corner for the rest of my life. When I came on the visit, it just felt like a family type of thing, and it just kind of cemented it throughout the year.”

The Mean Green (25-6, 16-4 C-USA) started on a 10-0 run as Western Kentucky (16-5, 8-12) did not score until eight minutes into the contest. The Hilltoppers then went on an 8-0 run to put themselves in a two-point deficit in two minutes. 

Back-to-back scores from sophomore guard Aaron Scott and consecutive 3-pointers from Perry rebuilt the North Texas lead. Perry went on to score four total threes in the half and lift the Mean Green a 38-18 lead at halftime. 

After one Western Kentucky basket to start the second half, North Texas went on a 13-0 run as the Hilltoppers went 6:31 without scoring. The Mean Green held Western Kentucky to 15 points in the second half. 

With the C-USA championship tournament next week, Perry said the mindset going into it is to “win at all costs.” 

“We know what’s at stake, we know what we’re fighting for and we know what we want to do,” Perry said. “We’re laying it all on the line.”

North Texas holds the No. 2 seed in the conference, giving it a first-round bye. In the second round, they will face the winner of the first-round contest between Louisiana Tech University and Florida International University. The Mean Green swept both teams in the regular season. 

The first round for North Texas will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. 

Featured Image Junior guard Rubin Jones slams a basket down against Western Kentucky University on March 4, 2023.  Matt Iaia

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Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

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