North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball gets much-needed win over rival UTSA

Men’s basketball gets much-needed win over rival UTSA

February 18
18:51 2017

The dream is not dead yet.

Needing a win, the Mean Green men’s basketball team downed the University of Texas at San Antonio 83-73 Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd of 3,300 people at the Super Pit. North Texas (8-18, 2-12) climbed in the Conference USA race and moved to three games back from the final spot in the C-USA tournament.

Head coach Tony Benford’s group had four players reach double-digits as senior guard J-Mychal Reese and junior forward Shane Temara scored 19 points each to lead the way.

“It really helps,” Benford said. “Not many teams have had four or five different teams like we have with our injuries. Guys have been trying to get more comfortable with that, and that’s why we’re playing well now. Guys understand what they have to do to help us win the game.”

Temara dominated the boards with nine rebounds and continued his recent strong play. Prior to knocking off UTSA, Temara had 15 points and six rebounds Thursday against the University of Texas at El Paso.

He has slowly taken on a larger role for the Mean Green on both sides of the court over the last few games. Temara shot 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and played a significant role in holding the Roadrunners’ leading scorer, junior forward Jeff Beverly, to just three points.

“I thought I was in a little bit of a slump,” Temara said. “But over the past couple of games I’ve been better. I’ve been in the gym a bit.”

While Temara did his part, Reese used the open space set up by freshman guard Ryan Woolridge to his advantage. The explosive Woolridge bugged the Roadrunners (11-16, 6-8) all afternoon to amass eight steals in addition to racking up 13 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Woolridge’s creative play as a point guard gave Reese space to hit his 19 points. Senior forward Derail Green added 10 points before fouling out late in the second half.

“With Shane and Derail hitting shots it opens up a lot of space,” Reese said.

Despite coming out on top, the Mean Green had their share of early struggles. The Roadrunners outrebounded North Texas in the early going before Temara got going. Temara and the offense began to click to push North Texas to a 33-28 halftime lead.

North Texas continued to build on the lead that it had garnered, pushing it to 18 at one point – but the Roadrunners never quite said die. With time running down in the second half, the Mean Green went on a scoring drought that lasted more than two minutes.

UTSA pulled within single digits after making an and-one from the line to trim the Mean Green lead just eight. But Woolridge flashed his explosive nature and quickly pushed the ball down the court before dishing a creative pass to Reese. Reese immediately found Temara under the basket for an easy transition dunk, putting a bow on the game with a two-handed slam.

The team’s dream of reaching the C-USA tournament is still on the table, but the Mean Green will need some help with just four games to go in the regular season. North Texas trails the University of Southern Mississippi and Florida Atlantic University by three games for the 12th and final spot in the tournament.

The Mean Green play Southern Miss in what will be a must-win game at home next Saturday, but will also need to steal at least two games from three conference juggernauts to close out the season. Louisiana Tech University, Western Kentucky University and Marshall University are three of the top-eight teams in the conference.

“We’ll be there [for the tournament],” Temara said. “I think we will.”

Next up: North Texas will host LA Tech at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Super Pit. The Mean Green lost 81-57 to the Bulldogs on Jan. 21.

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Clay Massey

Clay Massey

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