North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball unable to overcome Combs injury

Men’s basketball unable to overcome Combs injury

North Texas junior guard J-Mychal Reese drives the basket against Old Dominion University. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Men’s basketball unable to overcome Combs injury
March 03
22:35 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

Seconds into North Texas’ bout with Old Dominion University, the Mean Green’s worst nightmare came true.

Sophomore forward Jeremy Combs limped to the scorer’s table and off the court, favoring his lower leg in the process. After a quick trip to the locker room, Combs returned a few minutes later and played the rest of the first half with a noticeable limp, but the relief was short-lived.

Combs re-injured the same leg early in the second half and had to be helped to the bench before walking to the locker room under his own power. He emerged from the dressing room to watch the remainder of the game from the bench and did not return.

“It was tough without Jeremy,” head coach Tony Benford said. “We gave ourselves a chance at the end there.”

Benford said Combs attempted to play through the injury, but to no avail.

North Texas freshman guard Ja’ Michael Brown looks for a pass on the baseline against Old Dominion University. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

North Texas freshman guard Ja’ Michael Brown looks for a pass on the baseline against Old Dominion University. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

“The guy undercut him and he said he was fine,” Benford said. “He went to the locker room and came back so he could play. He came back the second half and said it tightened up on him. I don’t know if it’s lower leg, upper leg, I don’t know what it was. I looked around and didn’t know he was gone, then they said he can’t play. Hopefully, Jeremy will be fine.”

With Combs sidelined, Benford was forced to shuffle his lineups. Freshman center Rickey Brice Jr. was the prominent solution, recording his most minutes of the season with 22. He also chipped in 11 points and five rebounds in Combs’ absence.

“It put us is a tough situation,” Brice said. “To me, I think Jeremy is the best player on our team. He carries us really well. He’s a key player. With him coming out with the injury, it affected me. I knew I had to step up and play my game.”

The other two members of the North Texas big three, junior guards J-Mychal Brown and Deckie Johnson combined for 31 points and tried to put the team on their back. Ultimately, however, it was not enough to overcome the gaping hole left by the Mean Green’s leading scorer.

North Texas junior guard J-Mychal Reese drives the basket for a layup against Old Dominion University. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

North Texas junior guard J-Mychal Reese drives the basket for a layup against Old Dominion University. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

After the game, Benford said he was unsure as to what Combs’ status for Saturday’s game would be, but added if he was healthy, Combs would play.

“I have to talk to the trainers,” Benford said. “They’re going to get an X-ray now. If he’s not [healthy], he won’t, because I’m more concerned about his health than anything.”

Featured Image: North Texas junior guard J-Mychal Reese drives the basket against Old Dominion University. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

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