Watson Watches Williams Move Up Scoring List As NT Cooks Rice
2007 Sun Belt Tourney MVP In Crowd To Watch Williams Take Over 12th In Program's Scoring Charts
HOUSTON - Scoring always came naturally for Calvin Watson. Be it from the 3-point line or a flying dunk, the Houston native scored from everywhere while he racked up 1,253 career points and led North Texas to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. On Saturday, however, Watson watched from the Tudor Fieldhouse bleachers as Jordan Williams bested him on the program's career scoring charts.
The first of Williams' 15 points passed Watson for 12th in Mean Green history in career points, and led North Texas (7-8, 1-2 C-USA) to a gritty 66-63 win over Rice (4-10, 1-2 C-USA).
"I looked up into the crowd and saw Calvin, and it was such a special moment," Williams said. "I knew coming into the game that I was tied with him on the scoring lists, but it's just such an honor to be in the same conversation with a player like Calvin Watson."
The Owls led by as much as eight points with 10:37 left in the opening half, but that's when North Texas flipped the script. The Mean Green ended the half on a 14-5 run, and pushed that streak to 22-5 in the second half with a Colin Voss hook shot.
As usual, it was the Mean Green defense that turned the tide. North Texas forced a season-high 20 turnovers, and deflected a season-best 38 passes. On eight occasions NT stopped Rice from scoring on three consecutive trips down the floor.
North Texas led by 13 points with 6:41 remaining, but the Owls are the best 3-point shooting team in C-USA and bit into the Mean Green lead. On the final possession, North Texas forced the ball loose before the Owls could get a shot off.
The win is North Texas' first away from home this season. NT is now 1-4 on the road, although the losses are to Arkansas, Oklahoma State, Stephen F. Austin and Texas Tech.
Jordan Williams now has 1,268 career points and sits alone in 12th place in NT history.
North Texas now holds an 11-4 edge in the all-time series with Rice, and has taken six of the last seven.
Seven of the last eight meetings between Rice and North Texas have come down to the last possesion, including today. The margin of victory in those eight games is 2.5 points.
NT led the Owls 32-29 at the break, and is now 6-2 when leading at the half.
North Texas continues its three-game road swing with trips to Charlotte (Jan. 15) and Old Dominion (Jan. 17) next week.