Men’s basketball unable to continue late-game magic in loss to Charlotte

Men’s basketball unable to continue late-game magic in loss to Charlotte

Men’s basketball unable to continue late-game magic in loss to Charlotte
January 04
22:27 2018

Junior Allante Holston split a pair of free throws at the line with eight seconds left after coming down with what felt like the game saving offensive rebound as the North Texas men’s basketball team trailed by one before his free throw tied the game.

With a timeout in the back pocket, Charlotte’s Andrien White pulled up from about 28 feet out for a game-winning three with about five seconds on the clock swarmed by three defenders.

The shot was unusually early.

As a result, Holston and sophomore guards Roosevelt Smart and A.J. Lawson assumed time was expired as the ball rocketed off the backboard. Instead, Charlotte forward Milos Supica snatched the rebound, went up, and scored. There were .2 seconds left on the clock and Charlotte (5-8, 1-1) led 70-68.

After a failed heave, that score remained as the final, handing the Mean Green (9-7, 2-1) their first conference loss in their first home conference game.

“They were more physical than we were which was indicative of those last few possessions down the stretch,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “One of the guys came up and said they thought the game was over and it’s a lesson for a young team. We got beat earlier than that, it’s just unfortunate it came down to that.”

North Texas trailed for all but five and a half minutes in the game but the Charlotte lead never grew past nine.

The 49ers took the lead with 17:35 left in the first half and did not relinquish it until the 7:33 mark in the second half. Their early dominance came as a result of 12 Mean Green turnovers and 18 points in the paint in the first half.

North Texas has trailed at half in five of their last six games.

“We were just not playing aggressive enough,” senior forward Shane Temara said. “I think we’re more hungry in away games, but here we’re not as intense.”

The Mean Green out rebounded Charlotte overall 41-39, but the 49ers grabbed three more offensive boards and brought down two late that closed the gap with under a minute left.

“We just have to have more grit defensively tonight, especially guarding the ball,” McCasland said. “You hold them to 38 percent from the field and 20 percent from three, only had three turnovers in the second half, unfortunately we have to put it all together and be more physical.”

The leaders for the Mean Green were Smart and Temara who both had 12 points, combining to hit five of the six 3-pointers the team hit in the game.

The bench had its highest scoring game since Dec. 9, totaling 24 points between four players. The most of which came from junior forward Tope Arikawe, who put up eight points and seven rebounds in 16 minutes. The Mean Green outscored Charlotte by nine points in Arikawe’s 16 minutes of play.

The one big number for North Texas was the 11 assists from point guard Ryan Woolridge. He finished with the most assists in a North Texas uniform since Dec. 31, 2011.

After pulling out a pair of one-point wins on the road, the Mean Green are now 5-2 in games decided by five points or less. Close games are nothing new for this young team and McCasland knows it’s hard to have to play perfect to comeback in conference play.

“We felt a little out of sorts early and it looked like we were letting the game come to us, we’re not good enough to do that,” McCasland said. “We have to grit and grind every possession and we didn’t do that tonight.”

Next up: North Texas ends its two game home stint with Old Dominion University at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Featured image: University of North Texas Mean Green Men’s Basketball v Charlotte at Super Pit – North Texas Coliseum on January 4, 2018 in Denton Texas. Rick Yeatts Photography / Rick Yeatts

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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