North Texas Daily

Mid-season review: Men’s basketball looks to keep building team chemistry

Mid-season review: Men’s basketball looks to keep building team chemistry

January 19
12:16 2016

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

Through 18 games this season, the North Texas men’s basketball team is right in the thick of things in the Conference USA standings. The Mean Green (7-11, 2-3) sits at ninth place in C-USA despite having endured a seven game losing streak – the longest of the Tony Benford era.

North Texas has benefited from numerous off-season additions to the program, most notably junior guards J-Mychal Reese and Deckie Johnson. Coupled with sophomore forward Jeremy Combs, the Mean Green are averaging 77.6 points per game, good enough for fifth in C-USA.

North Texas junior point guard J­-Mychal Reese (52) drives toward the basket to put up a two point floater against Idaho. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

North Texas junior point guard J­-Mychal Reese (52) drives toward the basket to put up a two point floater against Idaho. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

But with eight new additions to the team, chemistry was almost certain to be a hurdle to overcome, especially given the limited playing time the team had before the season began.

“Teams start to take on an identity,” Benford said. “Every team is different. But I think these guys are starting to come together.”

The Mean Green started the season strong, routing its first two opponents by a combined 222 to 143 margin. North Texas’ offensive prowess ultimately propelled it to have the second highest scoring offense in the nation through two games, scoring 111 points per game.

The hot start, however, was short-lived. The Mean Green lost its next seven games, going nearly a month without a win. In that span, the offense sputtered, averaging 67.9 points per contest.

“It was tough for everybody,” graduate forward Eric Katenda said of the losing streak. “Everybody started questioning themselves, the coaching staff, everyone. Myself included. It was a time for all of us to find ourselves.”

North Texas senior forward Eric Katenda (20) goes up for a baseline jumper against Southern Illinois. Colin Mitchell | Intern Photographer

North Texas senior forward Eric Katenda (20) goes up for a baseline jumper against Southern Illinois. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

And while the North Texas offense has found success at times throughout the season, the same cannot be said about the defense. The Mean Green are allowing 79.2 points per game, which ranks 10th in C-USA.

Another Achilles’ heel for North Texas has been its free-throw shooting. The Mean Green are averaging 60 percent from the charity stripe, ranking last in C-USA.

The team has also shown an inability to win against a quality opponent. Of North Texas’ seven wins this season, only one has come against an opponent with a winning record.

“I don’t think we need a signature win,” Reese said. “I just think we need to keep winning in conference and protect home court. The rest will take care of itself.”

A strength the team has played to almost all year has been its field goal percentage, which ranks third in C-USA at 47.3 percent per game. A big reason for this is Combs, who is 13th in C-USA in scoring at 14.6 points per game and sixth in individual field goal percentage at 57.9 percent.

“That’s why we shoot such a high field goal percentage,” Benford said. “We put so much emphasis on getting the ball in the paint.”

The Mean Green are 6-6 on its home court, and have just one win on the road through 18 games. In the midst of a tough conference schedule over the next month and a half, Combs said its important the team stays resilient at all times.

“We just have to stay together,” Combs said. “There are going to be ups and downs moving forward, especially in conference play.”

Featured Image: North Texas junior guard Deckie Johnson (10) dribbles past a Southern Illinois defender to drive the basket. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

About Author

Reporter

Reporter

Related Articles

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: Resale bots have targeted Black-owned businesses📝 by @MzzDaijaVu 🖼 by @GishhyOrangehttps://t.co/DH0siFwozY
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
OPINION: Being disrespectful should not be a personality trait📝 by @peytonmilan0 🖼 by @AustinBanzonhttps://t.co/VvbK4ImF7k
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
RT @luna_bane: If any UNT Housing employees would like to speak to me about the current situation for the NT Daily. Please shoot me a DM.
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
NEWS: No set repercussions for students, organizations who do not follow safety procedures📝 + 📷 by @veryoakhttps://t.co/2Fy3erTFSn
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
THE DOSE: ‘Feelin Weird’ podcast destigmatizes mental health through conversations📝 by @_isabella_shttps://t.co/6avrD7Qxow
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad

Instagram