Men’s basketball prevails in overtime after big shot from Lawson

Men’s basketball prevails in overtime after big shot from Lawson

Sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart shots in a game against Indiana State University on December 6. Madison Gore

Men’s basketball prevails in overtime after big shot from Lawson
December 07
00:25 2017

As sophomore Roosevelt Smart went up for the game-tying 3-pointer, he felt some contact. As a result, he tried to get a foul call on a tough shot — but was not granted his wish.

The ball flew over the rim and it seemed as though the last drop of hope hit the ground in the Super Pit.

But senior forward Shane Temara rose above several Indiana State defenders and snagged the rebound, and eventually the win, from the grip of Indiana State.

Temara kicked it out to sophomore A.J. Lawson for a contested wing 3-pointer, and the seasoned guard drained it just as the backboard flashed red and the buzzer rang. His clutch basket sent the game to overtime and kept the Mean Green alive.

With the momentum, North Texas (5-5) pulled out a much needed win over the Sycamores 79-76 Wednesday night.

“These guys have worked extremely hard,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “For us to find a way was so great to see. For Shane to get the offensive rebound and have the sense to kick it out, that’s a huge play. Then for A.J. to make that shot, I’m so proud of him because they put hard work in.”

The Mean Green trailed 44-34 with about 15 minutes left in regulation, and the offense seemed stagnant while Indiana State got open shots at the rim and in the paint.

Smart was 0-of-5 from three and the team was an abysmal 1-of-7 from long range. Junior Jorden Duffy was ruled out with a bruised knee which further shrunk the team’s rotations.

“We didn’t execute well early,” McCasland said. “[We were] just trying to rotate guys and play different positions and honestly with Duffy out and us moving people around, we’re playing a little bit different so tonight it took us a little bit to get in that rhythm.”

In the second half and overtime, Smart scored 20 points and Temara pitched in 13 of his own.

The Mean Green also found a groove from the free throw line, converting 18-of-25 attempts. The offense as a whole just looked and felt different as the pace picked up down the stretch which played into the hands of Smart and the other shooters.

North Texas also outrebounded Indiana State 36-30, with Smart leading the team with nine boards.

“[We’ve] boxed out and been more aggressive,” Lawson said. “We don’t want anyone to be more aggressive than us, especially at home. We don’t want anyone to punk us, and we just want to be stronger than anyone we play.”

Down the stretch, North Texas outscored Indiana State 17-11 in the final 4:47 of the win.

With 30 seconds left, a Sycamore guard drove to the hoop with a chance to tie the game. But then freshman forward Zach Simmons made a game-clinching block and Smart sunk the two ensuing free throws, essentially putting the game out of reach.

“We hit adversity when we got down double digits but we kept fighting,” Smart said. “Zach made a really big play for us, and we were able to capitalize on that.”

After their last loss to the University of Texas at Arlington in the final seconds, this win feels like turning point to McCasland and the team.

“This is one of those games where maybe you finally start to get over the hump and see all the hard work paying off,” McCasland said. “I was really proud of just the way we were able to finish and find a way to win.”

Next up: The Mean Green take on McNeese State at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 in the Super Pit.

Featured Image: North Texas sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart shoots a mid-range jumper against Indiana State University. Madison Gore

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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