North Texas Daily

Men’s basketball upsets LA Tech at home

Men’s basketball upsets LA Tech at home

Men’s basketball upsets LA Tech at home
January 22
22:00 2015

Jeffrey Cooperstein / Intern Writer

The Mean Green men’s basketball team upset the No. 1 team in Conference USA, the Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs, 73-66 at home Thursday night. It is the first time since 1986 that North Texas has beaten LA Tech.

The Mean Green started out hot in the first half, making its first five three-pointers. North Texas continued the hot shooting throughout the entire first half, shooting a prolific 72 percent from the field and 6 of 9 from three-point range, its best shooting half since the 2012-2013 season. The team took a 49-28 halftime lead.

“We really got out to the best start we’ve had all year,” head coach Tony Benford said.

North Texas’ execution on offense was one of its best showings of the season to this point, running the fast break and half court sets to near perfection with only four first half turnovers. Senior forward Colin Voss and freshman forward Jeremy Combs were defensive forces for the Mean Green, with six rebounds for Combs and a pair of blocks for Voss in the opening frame.

“I always try to play defense, because defense wins ballgames,” said Combs, who finished with a career high 16 rebounds.

LA Tech started out the second half on a 7-0 run before Benford took the first timeout less than three minutes into the half. LA Tech’s strong contingent of fans at the Super Pit came to life on the Bulldog run before senior guard T.J. Taylor stopped the bleeding with a long two.

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Redshirt junior Maurice Aniefiok shoots one from downtown. The Mean Green defeated the No. 1 seed in C-USA 73-66.

North Texas’ hot shooting from the first half disappeared as LA Tech closed the gap to within 10 just over four minutes into the second, going on a 15-6 run. The Mean Green lead dwindled down to five at 58-53 with 8:48 left in the game.

The Bulldogs kept chipping away, and LA Tech point guard Kenneth Smith made a layup to bring the Bulldogs to within one. On the following possession, North Texas missed two shots but got the ball back both times, courtesy of offensive rebounds by Voss and Combs.

On the third attempt, Taylor converted on a runner in the lane, which brought North Texas’ lead back up to five. Combs’ offensive rebound and putback effectively sealed the game for the Mean Green, with Voss hitting a pair of free throws to bring the game to a final score of 73-66.

“We had to make sure we executed. We work on our press break every day, and I thought those guys did a great job of executing down the stretch,” Benford said.

The Mean Green made sure that LA Tech never took the lead thanks to key rebounds and shots in the final few minutes.

“Those were the biggest rebounds of our lives,” said senior guard Jordan Williams, who had 16 points and nine rebounds on the night.

Next up, the team will remain at home to play the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Featured Image: Redshirt senior forward Colin Voss takes an uncontested layup during the game on Thursday night. Voss along with three other players, scored a game high 16 points upsetting Louisiana Tech University. Photos by Ryan Vance – Senior Staff Photographer

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