Late Run By UAB Gives Blazers Win Against Men's Basketball
Mean Green Fall To UAB, 54-52
DENTON -- William Lee hit the game-winning basket with five seconds left to give UAB a 54-52 win against the North Texas men's basketball team on Thursday night in the Super Pit.
The Mean Green had an opportunity to tie the game at the buzzer, but Ryan Woolridge's jumper bounced off the rim.
"We played really hard tonight but just couldn't get many shots to fall down the stretch," head coach Tony Benford said. "We didn't execute and got stagnent on the offensive end that led to UAB's run. I thought Ryan (Woolridge) had a good look at the end but it didn't fall."
UAB used a 9-0 run and strong defensive play in the final minutes of the game to gain its first lead of the second half, 51-50. J-Mychal Reese hit a short jumper in front of the basket to give the lead back to the Mean Green with 23 seconds left in the game, but UAB had enough time for Lee to make the layup and complete the 3-point play after being fouled.
For most of the second half the game looked like it was going to go the way of the Mean Green. Reese and Jeremy Combs, who both scored in double-figures in the same game for the first time this season, led the Mean Green on a 9-1 run midway through the second half to take their largest lead of the game, 43-35, with 10:43 on the clock. Combs looked like the Combs of old with strong play under the basket and a dunk that put North Texas ahead by seven.
Reese had one of his best offensive performances of the season with a team-leading 16 points. He repeatedly was able to get past the UAB defense with slashing cuts to the basket. He made back-to-back layups gave North Texas another eight-point lead, 50-42, with 4:26 left.
"Reese was aggressive all night and hit some big shots for us," Benford added. "He made a great pass on the last play but we couldn't tie it up. His jump shot was going down tonight which made him tough to guard."
Unfortunately, North Texas' shooting went cold, while UAB went on a 9-0 run. Chris Cokley scored six of those nine points for UAB, and had one of the Blazers' three blocks in the final five minutes. With 48 seconds left in the game, Cokley grabbed an offensive rebound and put in the layup to give the visitors a 51-50 lead. Reese was able to briefly gain back the Mean Green lead before Lee hit the winner.
The Mean Green held the edge in field-goal percentage for the night (41.8 to 40.8) but recorded a season low in 3-point shooting (1-for-15) and made just 5 of 9 shots from the charity stripe.
After a slow start, North Texas took its first lead with a Woolridge jumper, 10-9, at the 11:25 mark. After the two teams exchanged leads, the Mean Green held the advantage for the final five minutes of the first half and entered the break ahead by four points, 27-23.
The Mean Green continues their homestand with a Saturday afternoon game against Middle Tennessee at 2 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
North Texas has lost its fourth straight game, the longest losing streak of the season.
North Texas is now 6-4 in the Super Pit.
Ryan Woolridge started his first game in a Mean Green uniform.
J-Mychal Reese has scored in double-figures the last four games.
North Texas recorded a season-high 14 steals.
Rickey Brice Jr. has hit his last 11 free-throws, including a 2-for-2 performance tonight.
Jeremy Combs scored in double-figures for the first time since December 20.