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Missed free throws and leaky defense cripple men’s basketball in UTA loss

Missed free throws and leaky defense cripple men’s basketball in UTA loss

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

Missed free throws and leaky defense cripple men’s basketball in UTA loss
December 03
23:08 2015

Reece Waddell | Senior Staff Writer

@ReeceTapout15

The Mean Green entered its contest with the University of Texas at Arlington hoping to snap a four game losing skid.

But missed free throws, a lack of defense and no presence on the glass doomed North Texas (2-5) for its fifth straight loss.

“We have to take care of the basketball and rebound. We didn’t do either one of those things early,” head coach Tony Benford said. “But you can’t beat anybody if you don’t make free throws.”

North Texas shot a season worst 33 percent from the free throw line, a mark well below its average of 64.4 percent. Along with the woes from the charity stripe, the Mean Green was also out-rebounded 47-29.

“For some reason we just didn’t rebound the basketball,” Benford said. “We just weren’t tough enough tonight. We have to do a better job of competing.”

The Mean Green never led on Thursday night despite erasing an early 17 point deficit. UT Arlington controlled the game from the outset and actually rebuilt an even bigger lead in the second half, going up by as much as 25 points with 1:15 to play.

Benford said he cannot pinpoint why his team has been so inconsistent, but said it is something they needed to fix quickly.

“We have to figure it out,” Benford said. “We had some turnovers during those stretches where we go off on our own and don’t trust the offense. The other team gets live ball turnovers and make a run. They just seem to come at the wrong time for us.”

North Texas ended the game with 17 turnovers, which the Mavericks were able to convert into 23 points. Additionally, UTA outscored the Mean Green 34-16 off the bench. It was a big reason five Mavericks ended the game in double figures.

Junior guard Carrington Ward came off the bench and provided North Texas with 10 points on four of eight shooting. His assessment of the game was similar to his head coach’s, saying  the main reason the game got away from them was their inability to control the glass.

“Rebounds killed us,” Ward said. “They had too many second chance opportunities.”

The Mean Green only trailed by 10 when the second half began, but the game quickly got out of hand. UT Arlington rebuilt its lead and pulled away when North Texas had two separate scoring droughts of more than two minutes.

It didn’t take junior guard J-Mychal Reese, who tied for the team lead in scoring at 16 points, many words to diagnose the Mean Green’s fifth straight defeat.

“They just outplayed us,” Reese said.

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

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