North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball soars over Marshall for first conference win

Men’s basketball soars over Marshall for first conference win

Men’s basketball soars over Marshall for first conference win
January 17
16:01 2014

Chris Scarborough // Intern Writer

With a strong first half that set the tone for the game, the Mean Green men’s basketball team beat Marshall University 80-65 Thursday night in Huntington, W. Va., and won its first game as a member of Conference USA.

The Mean Green (10-7, 1-2) wasted no time by hopping out to a quick lead early in the first half. The lead grew midway through the first half to 27-9, the team’s biggest lead of the night.

A late surge in the second half from Marshall (6-12,0-3), led by freshman guard Kareem Canty, threatened UNT’s first conference win, but the Mean Green held strong by making significant free throws at the end to hold off the Thundering Herd.

The active team defense sparked the early UNT lead. In his post-game comments, head coach Tony Benford told his team how he wanted to see them play.

“Have fun. When you go out there, go as hard as you can and play with great energy,” Benford said.

Junior guard Chris Jones led the team with eight assists, taking some advice from his head coach.

“I had a sit down with him and just said, ‘Just run our team. Just be solid,” Benford said. “When he is like that, he is as good as any point guard in our league.”

Junior forward Colin Voss competed against a tough Marshall frontcourt and grabbed nine rebounds for UNT. He also had no trouble putting the ball in the bucket with 16 points on 7-of-9 field goals.

Next up, the team moves on to play the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Jan. 14 in Charlotte, N.C. at 6 p.m. The 49ers (11-5,2-1) has made an impression this season, beating the University of Michigan, which made it to the NCAA Championship game last season, and Kansas State University, which tied for the best record in the Big 12 Conference last season.

Benford has high respect for the team as the Mean Green heads into Saturday’s contest, and said the team needs to stick to the Charlotte frontcourt and lock them down.

“[Head coach Alan Major] has got really good guard play,” Benford said. “They also have really good size, and they do a great job on the offensive glass.”

Quick Notes:

– Junior forward Kelvin Gaines had two points in this game, which are his first points in his Mean Green career after missing 13 games due to a knee injury and slowly being given minutes.

– Senior guard Brandon Walton led the bench in scoring with nine points, including a big three during the team’s early run.

– The Mean Green had eight steals in the first half, the most in a half since Nov. 11, 2011 against St. Gregory’s University.

Feature photo: Sophomore guard Maurice Aniefiok watches the Tulane offense drive down the court during a home game at the Super Pit on Jan. 11. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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