North Texas Daily

RECAP: Men’s basketball wins high-scoring affair over LSU-Alexandria

RECAP: Men’s basketball wins high-scoring affair over LSU-Alexandria

RECAP: Men’s basketball wins high-scoring affair over LSU-Alexandria
December 22
18:33 2020

On Tuesday, North Texas men’s basketball (4-3, 0-0 Conference USA) defeated NAIA opponent Louisiana State University-Alexandria (7-3, 0-0 Red River Athletic Conference) by a score of 110-78.

As far as scoring the basketball, the 110-point effort was the Mean Green’s second-highest scoring effort of the season behind only their 116 points in the Nov. 26 season opener against Mississippi Valley State. Defensively, however, the Mean Green gave up a season-high 78 points to the Generals, compared to the team’s previous high of 69 points coming twice against the University of Arkansas and Mississippi State University.

After going into halftime with a 52-40 lead, the Mean Green came out and dominated in the second half, finishing with a 20-point advantage in the second half and ultimately winning the game by 32 points.

Senior guards Javion Hamlet and James Reese both said the team’s offensive success in scoring 110 points was due to good energy and ball movement throughout the game.

“We just kept the ball popping and finding guys like Reese, Drez, Rubin, it was all the guys.” Hamlet said. “They were just hitting shots today and, you know, I need them to do that to get me going, so, I really give them all the credit.”

Leading the team in scoring on the night was senior forward Thomas Bell. The 6-foot-6 forward had 18 points in the first half alone and finished the game with a career-high 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.

Reese said he and the rest of the team were happy for Bell in having a career night scoring-wise, but he also said the performance from Bell did not surprise him. Head coach Grant McCasland said Bell needs to be more involved with the Mean Green’s offensive efforts going forward, whether through scoring or facilitating.

“He needs to be more involved in what we do,” McCasland said. “It doesn’t have to be home run plays, it just has to be him getting touches, making the right read. I thought the biggest factor was just his confidence in shooting threes, he was catching ’em in rhythm and shooting ’em. When he’s doing that, that’s when our offense is probably at its best.”

Some other notable players for North Texas were the team’s two new transfers in junior forward Terrance Lewis II and junior guard Mardrez McBride. Lewis II ended the game with 13 points, three rebounds and four assists, while McBride scored 13 points as well including two 3-pointers.

Reese said the team’s defensive struggles in the first half stemmed from a lack of communication, something they worked on improving in the second half.

“Our coach went into the locker room, he got on us a little bit and told us that we wasn’t communicating as much,” Reese said. “And we kind of knew that already, so we just upped the communication a little bit and tried to get into the ball a little bit more and make ’em turn it over.”

Despite giving up a season-high 78 points to LSU-Alexandria, one positive for the Mean Green on the defensive end was forcing 20 turnovers and scoring 29 points off those turnovers. McCasland said he was pleased with that statistic, but that the defense was too inconsistent.

“It felt like an all or nothing,” McCasland said. “It felt like it was really good or really bad. That’s where, initially with that defense, is figure out a way to settle in and just make it more difficult consistently. The first ball screen is what we had the hardest time with. When they got us in rotations, we either took a charge or they got a layup or a wide open shot. Honestly, it can’t be that way. We need to be able to play that possession out where we’re there on the catch contesting, and we were late to rotate.”

UP NEXT: The Mean Green’s next scheduled games are back-to-back matchups with the University of Alabama-Birmingham on Jan. 1 and 2 to begin conference play.

Featured Image: Junior Terrence Lewis II looks passed Houston Baptist defender before driving to the basket on Dec. 17. Image by Zachary Thomas

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John Fields

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