Mean Green Comeback Falls Short Against Old Dominion, 63-60
North Texas Missed 12 Free Throws In Home Loss
DENTON - The North Texas men's basketball team fell short once again in a Conference USA game, losing 63-60 to Old Dominion on Saturday night at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green had a chance to win the ball game but missed free throw opportunities and turnovers late in the game hindered the comeback effort and sealed the Old Dominion victory in the late seconds.
"I feel bad for our guys." head coach Grant McCasland said. "You can see the competitiveness and fight in this team. We need to improve at the free throw line and in our execution."
Sophomores Ryan Woolridge and Roosevelt Smart led the way offensively for the Mean Green (9-8, 2-2 C-USA) with 13 and 14 points, respectively. Junior Jorden Duffy came off the bench to score 11 points.
ODU jumped out to a large lead early on, stretching their lead to 12 midway through the first half. After a 0-for-7 stretch for North Texas from the field, Duffy scored five-straight unanswered points, including a three-pointer to stop the skid.
An aggressive Mean Green answered back by holding the Monarchs to a dry spell of their own, 1-for-12 from the field. North Texas was able to chop the lead down to four, but Old Dominion's Ahmad Caver knocked down a pair of long three-pointers to head into halftime with an eight point lead.
North Texas came out of the locker room strong to start the second half by trading a handful of quick baskets with ODU. Woolridge was able to spark a big momentum shift with a steal leading to a dunk, followed by a very physical layup.
Old Dominion was able to extend their lead back out to nine, but the Mean Green were able to cut the Monarch lead down once again to just one point after Woolridge and Duffy knocked down key three-pointers. However, a costly turnover with four seconds left all but sealed the victory for the Monarchs.
"To lose by one possession (is tough)," Woolridge said. "We started the game off too slow and should've started tougher, which would've made a big impact."
Even after a tough loss, McCasland is still very confident in his squad moving forward.
"We have some really good players," McCasland said. "This team has a lot of excitement and I like the fact that we keep seeing players get better."
- Old Dominion, who entered the game averaging the most points scored in C-USA play (85.5), was held by the Mean Green defense to just 63.
- The North Texas bench outscored the ODU bench by 14.
- Tonight's game marked the first time in school history that four straight games were decided by three points or less.
- Woolridge has played every minute in five-straight games
The Mean Green will begin a three-game road trip starting at Rice on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 2 p.m.