North Texas Daily

Second half momentum leads men’s basketball to win over Middle Tennessee

Second half momentum leads men’s basketball to win over Middle Tennessee

Second half momentum leads men’s basketball to win over Middle Tennessee
March 04
10:15 2023

Men’s basketball cruised to a 64-50 win over Middle Tennessee State University Thursday after building a lead that carried through the second half. 

Senior guard Tylor Perry and junior forward Abou Ousmane each scored 19 points as Perry shot a perfect 14-14 from the free-throw line. The win broke the single-season program record for regular season wins. 

“That’s what’s fun about this program — the guys that were here when it first started […] talk to each other, and there’s this ‘let’s keep this thing going’ mentality,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “It’s fun to see the expectation be what it is, and it’s a big deal within the culture of our team that we just have a standard that we play for.” 

Ousmane also put up nine rebounds and tied his career-high with five blocks. McCasland said his impact was felt in all aspects of the game. 

“Getting it to Abou [Ousmane] I thought was really big for us,” McCasland said. “He’s one of those guys that when he scores, our team really has a lot of success so you can get that inside-out attack. Abou tonight was tremendous.”

Middle Tennessee (18-12, 11-8 Conference USA) started the game on a 6-0 run as North Texas (24-6, 15-4) spent the half chipping away at what later became an eight-point lead for the Blue Raiders. Points from senior guard Kai Huntsberry and free throws from Ousmane topped off a 9-0 run with 6:20 left in the first half to give the Mean Green their first lead of the night. 

The lead was short-lived as Middle Tennessee had back-to-back three-point plays. Late in the half, North Texas went on a 7-0 run highlighted by a Perry three and a layup from sophomore forward Moulaye Sissoko to take a 33-30 lead at the half. 

“[The game] was a confidence booster,” Ousmane said. “Last game I feel like we left a lot on the table, especially me personally with layups and everything. Just coming in after that loss, I feel like it was good for the team to get this win.”

The Mean Green scoring run continued into the second half as they outscored the Blue Raiders 13-0 through about five minutes of play. North Texas did not surrender its lead for the remainder of the game and scored 19 points off of turnovers. 

“When they’re the team that makes people turn it over, but we score more off of their turnovers, that’s a big deal,” McCasland said. “That was a big turning point for us.” 

The Mean Green defense limited Middle Tennessee to one successful 3-pointer in the second half after it went 6-11 from beyond the arc in the first. The Blue Raiders went to the free throw line only once in the second half, a stat McCasland said solidified the game. 

“I thought our second half defense was tremendous,” McCasland said. “We played without fouling. We were able to solidify the game at the free throw line, which we haven’t done a lot of, so that’s what I’m excited about.”

Although the team has locked in the second seed in C-USA going into next week’s conference tournament, Perry said every game still matters as they hope to rebuild momentum. 

“We want to win every game,” Perry said. “We’re playing to be our best in the tournament next week. It’s about being us and getting better every day, continuing to get better through next week.”

North Texas faces Western Kentucky University at home for its final regular season game on Saturday. 

Featured Image Senior guard Kai Huntsberry faces off against a defender in a game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Feb. 9, 2023. Marco Barrera

About Author

Jillian Nachtigal

Jillian Nachtigal

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

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

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad