North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball suffers second loss to Western Kentucky, ends tournament dreams

Men’s basketball suffers second loss to Western Kentucky, ends tournament dreams

Men’s basketball suffers second loss to Western Kentucky, ends tournament dreams
March 15
17:39 2019

The No. 10 North Texas men’s basketball team (21-12, Conference USA 9-11) fell in the quarterfinals round of the Conference USA Championship Tournament to No. 2 Western Kentucky (19-13, Conference USA 12-7) with a final score of 67-51. Their last loss to the Hilltoppers came on Feb. 9 with the Mean Green losing by three in a 62-59-point loss.

Credit to Western Kentucky, what a great start they had, they were physical defensively to start the game, head coach Grant McCasland said. “[Western Kentucky] took it to us, we got sped up, and to be honest I did a terrible job to start the game, I just didn’t give us a chance to win.”

North Texas went into the half with a 15point deficit, down 16-31. The last time the Mean Green played Western Kentucky they went into the half with a 15-point deficit as well. North Texas shot 24 percent from the field on 6-for-25 shooting compared to the Hilltoppers’ shooting 38.5 percent on 10-for-26 shooting. The Mean Green also scored 10 turnovers and 15 rebounds in concert with Western Kentucky’s 25 rebounds to conclude the first half.

Western Kentucky finished the game with a similar shooting percentage of 38.9 on 21-for-59 shooting. However, they managed to get to the free throw line effectively after shooting 20-for-28 from the line. North Texas ended the game, shooting 30 percent (18-for-60) of their shots from the field and 18.7 percent (5-for-27) from beyond the arc.

“We have a lot of talent on this team and a lot of guys working hard,” sophomore forward Zachary Simmons said. “Shots just didn’t fall, and we didn’t get enough stops tonight.”

Simmons came close to a second consecutive double-double as he finished the night playing a total of 31 minutes and scoring eight points along with a team-high 13 rebounds. The previous night the sophomore forward attained a double-double and grabbed 16 boards in concert with scoring 19 points.

Junior guard Ryan Woolridge played 30 minutes serving as a bench role and scored a team-high 13 points in this game and totaled five rebounds, six assists and one steal. His two made 3-pointers were the most by a player for North Texas against the Hilltoppers.

Redshirt freshman guard Umoja Gibson played 30 minutes and accumulated 7 points on 2-for-8 shooting from the field. Gibson also recorded three assists, a steal and a rebound. Gibson shot 1-for-7 from beyond the arc in tonight’s match with the Hilltoppers. This was after a game when he scored 21 points, all of them coming from the three-point line. Gibson came into this game being second place all-time for 3-pointers in a season with 98. He finished the conference tournament at 99.

Senior guard Michael Miller played 17 minutes and did not score a point after shooting 0-for-4 from the field, collecting three rebounds and turning the ball over three times.

North Texas is now 1-3 in Conference USA Tournament games in the McCasland Era with their first appearance in the quarterfinals with McCasland as head coach.

“No matter how the season was going we always expect a championship level from our team,” Simmons said. “To not be competing for that, is tough for us.” 

Featured Image: Mean Green redshirt freshman Umoja Gibson shields off a Hilltopper defender at the game against Western Kentucky at The Star on March 14, 2019. Image by: Trevon McWilliams. 

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Matt Suarez

Matt Suarez

Sports Editor

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