North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball moves closer to first place in C-USA after win

Men’s basketball moves closer to first place in C-USA after win


Men’s basketball moves closer to first place in C-USA after win
January 26
21:48 2019

The North Texas Mean Green men’s basketball team (18-3, 6-2 Conference USA) picked up a conference win against Middle Tennessee (5-16, 2-6 C-USA) after a 70-53 win, putting them a half game back from first place in C-USA.

“We showed more aggression and fight and played with a sense of urgency in this game,” senior guard Michael Miller said. “We didn’t attack the paint last game so that was our main emphasis coming into tonight, attack the paint as a group.”

The Mean Green rebounded after their loss to conference opponent Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday. Junior guard Ryan Woolridge and sophomore forward Zach Simmons were held to season lows on Thursday against Alabama-Birmingham.

North Texas has the only six players in the country with double-digit scoring averages — junior guard Ryan Woolridge (12.2 ppg), freshman guard Umoja Gibson (12.2 ppg), Simmons (11.3 ppg), Smart (11.0 ppg), (Miller 11.0 ppg), senior guard Jordan Duffy (10.4 ppg).

The Mean Green have made it a habit of having numerous primary scorers this season and they stuck to it tonight, as they had three players score in the double digits — Woolridge (14), Smart (16) and Miller (15).

North Texas ended the first half with a field goal percentage of 51.7 percent.  Middle Tennessee shot the ball during the first half with a 15 percent field goal percentage. The Mean Green went into halftime leading the Blue Raiders 42-19. North Texas would come out in the second half and ended up making 29 percent of their baskets. North Texas shot 17.2 percent from beyond the three-point line.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot it well but this team can shoot so it’s only a matter of time before we have a breakthrough,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “We’ll keep getting better and I have to keep doing a better job in making sure we progress.”

Middle Tennessee’s offense couldn’t overcome their first-half deficit and would go on to lose to North Texas. This loss puts them in second to last place (No. 13) in C-USA.

North Texas is now tied for first place in C-USA with Texas-San Antonio, who also has a 6-2 record in conference play. This win gives North Texas 18 regular season wins for the first time since 2010-11, when they went 19-10 in the regular season. The Mean Green also get their sixth conference win before the month of February for the first time since 2012.

North Texas went 14-4 at home last year but won four games at home in the CBI postseason tournament.

Up next, the Mean Green will travel to Virginia on Thursday, Jan. 31 to play Old Dominion (16-6, 6-3 C-USA).

Featured ImageMean Green junior guard Roosevelt Smart knocks down a corner three-pointer over a Blue Raider defender. Smart finished the game with 16 points and three rebounds. Mean Green defeated the Blue Raiders 70-53. Trevon McWilliams 

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Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

Sports Editor

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