North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball stunned in overtime by USM

Men’s basketball stunned in overtime by USM

Men’s basketball stunned in overtime by USM
January 24
23:32 2015

Scott Sidway / Staff Writer

Just two days after upsetting the top team in the conference, the Mean Green men’s basketball team was upset by the worst team in the conference, falling 75-71 to the University of Southern Mississippi in overtime at home.

North Texas (8-11, 2-5) experienced a similar situation earlier this season, when they upset the Creighton Blue Jays and proceeded to drop a game to Prairie View A&M University.

“It’s just disappointing,” head coach Tony Benford said. “We put ourselves in a position to move up and get in the thick of things, and then we come out tonight and did not get it done.”

Despite entering the game with the worst scoring offense in Conference USA, the Golden Eagles managed to hang close with the Mean Green throughout the first half, until junior guard Maurice Aniefiok drained a three at the first half buzzer. The shot gave North Texas a 37-29 lead going into halftime with Aniefiok leading the Mean Green with 11 points.

The offensive firepower carried over into the second half with the Mean Green opening the frame with a 9-3 run that included some nifty post moves by freshman forward Jeremy Combs and a couple of long balls from senior guard Jordan Williams. But North Texas failed to keep its foot on the pedal as the half continued, allowing the Golden Eagles to climb within one point and eventually tie the game with under five remaining in the game thanks to a five minute scoreless streak for the Mean Green.

North Texas responded to take the lead with a three pointer from Williams, which moved the senior into tenth place on the Mean Green all-time scoring list.

“When you accomplish something, it’s like it’s taken right back from you when you lose,” Williams said. “We’ve got to focus on the little things and move on.”

Towards the end of the game, senior forward Colin Voss knocked down two clutch free throws to put the Mean Green up 62-59. Combs grabbed the rebound after a missed three by Southern Miss, but he missed the following free throw. The Golden Eagles advanced the ball quickly, and Southern Miss forward Norville Carey hit a game-tying three with only a few seconds remaining to force overtime.

“I think we just ran into a little slump there,” Aniefiok said. “But that wasn’t even the reason we lost the game. I felt that we just didn’t come up with the necessary stops and rebounds we needed to close the game out.”

The overtime period started a Southern Miss bucket that gave them their first lead of the game, but Aniefiok responded with a long jumper to tie the game at 64. The Golden Eagles committed an offensive foul on their next possession, and senior guard TJ Taylor gave North Texas its first lead in overtime.

Southern Miss drilled a three as the shot clock expired on its next possession to retake the lead at 67-66, but Combs was able to tie it up by making one of two free throws after being fouled going up for a put-back. Williams later made one free throw to put North Texas up 68-67 with about 2:00 left.

Carey continued his clutch shooting by draining a layup to give Southern Miss a 69-68 lead. North Texas immediately turned the ball over, which turned into a three pointer from USM’s Chip Armelin to give the Golden Eagles their biggest lead of the game at72-68.

Aniefiok missed a three following a Mean Green timeout, and Southern Miss made one of two free throws after an intentional foul to extend the lead to 73-68. North Texas turned it over in scramble mode, putting the game out of reach.

North Texas will finish a three game home stand next Saturday against Rice University. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Featured Image: The men’s basketball team leads the University of Southern Mississippi in the early going of a devastating overtime loss last night. The teams battled back and forth during the extra time, but a Mean Green turnover led to an unsealable point gap. Photo by Junebug Clark – UNT Photo Consultant

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