North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball tops Southeastern Louisiana in Keith Frazier’s debut

Men’s basketball tops Southeastern Louisiana in Keith Frazier’s debut

North Texas senior guard Keith Frazier (4) passes the ball behind his head against South East Louisiana. Colin Mitchell

Men’s basketball tops Southeastern Louisiana in Keith Frazier’s debut
December 20
21:46 2016

It has been a long time coming for Keith Frazier.

The SMU transfer and McDonald’s All-American made his eagerly anticipated North Texas debut on Tuesday night against Southeastern Louisiana University and did not disappoint. Frazier entered the game in the 13-minute mark of the first half with the Mean Green (6-5) trailing and needing a spark.

But Frazier didn’t just spark them – he ignited a fire.

North Texas promptly went on a 7-0 run with Frazier that propelled them to a 71-65 victory over the Lions (6-6). Frazier led the team in scoring with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and was as-advertised on both ends of the floor.

“I thought Keith Frazier for his first night out played really well,” head coach Tony Benford said. “He’s unselfish and hit some big shots for us when we needed them, but also distributed the ball.”

Frazier and freshman guard Ryan Woolridge became eligible last Saturday against Sam Houston State University, giving Benford plenty of options in the backcourt. Unfortunately, it also creates a logjam.

North Texas now has seven guards in Frazier, Woolridge, seniors J-Mychal Reese and Deckie Johnson, freshman A.J. Lawson, sophomores Ja’Michael Brown and Allante Holston all vying for playing time. Despite this, Benford is confident he will be able to iron out a rotation and utilize each of them effectively.

“I have a lot of different ways to go,” Benford said. “Everybody has to buy into their roles. Some nights you might play 25 minutes and some nights you might not. It’s a matter of everyone taking ownership and accepting their roles.”

Frazier, though, has been the highly touted gem.

He is the first McDonald’s All-American to play at North Texas, and did not disappoint in his first night donning a Mean Green uniform. When North Texas fell cold, Frazier either stepped up and hit a shot or created an easy basket for one of his teammates.

In the second half, Frazier was a key cog in a 14-0 run that broke the game open and the Mean Green its largest lead of the game at 55-41.

“It’s amazing,” sophomore center Rickey Brice Jr. said of playing with Frazier. “Just being around him, he brings a lot of energy to the team. If I’m having a bad day, all it takes is one word from him. Having Keith around is a big step.”

North Texas eventually relinquished most of its lead due to a five-minute field goal drought late in the second half, but was able to hold on thanks to stout defense. With Conference USA play looming at the end of December, Benford is glad he is able to begin working Frazier into the lineup at the tail end of their non-conference schedule.

“It’s always difficult as a coach,” Benford said. “And now you’re trying to blend [Frazier and Woolridge] in. But its a good problem to have. We’re fortunate to have them.”

Featured Image: North Texas senior guard Keith Frazier (4) passes the ball behind his head against South East Louisiana. Frazier scored 12 points in his debut. Colin Mitchell

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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