North Texas Second-Half Rally Falls Short At Southern Miss
Woolridge Scores 20 Points In Loss
HATTIESBURG, MS - The Mean Green scored 50 second-half points but a slow start proved to be the difference in an 85-78 road loss at Southern Miss Saturday at Reed Green Coliseum.
North Texas (10-10-3-4 C-USA) made a late run to get within five points but Southern Miss held on to improve to 9-0 at home this season. Sophomore guard Ryan Woolridge finished with 20 points, including 12 in the second half and had nine assists in 40 minutes.
Sophomore Roosevelt Smart scored 15 second-half points but was held to 3-for-10 shooting from the three-point line. Junior Tope Arikawe recorded his first career double-double for North Texas off 13 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
The Mean Green had a tough night from the three-point line going 6-of-24 for 25 percent. North Texas also missed nine free throws going 16-for-25 to shoot 64 percent.
North Texas outscored Southern Miss 30-to-14 in bench points thanks to Arikawe's career night and eight points from senior Shane Temara. The Mean Green had 38 points in the paint mostly due to their aggressiveness in the second half.
With 11:06 remaining, North Texas fell behind by 18 points at 56-38 off a jumper by Tim Rowe. The Mean Green kept fighting to get within 11 points at 62-51 off a layup from Woolridge at the 6:49 mark.
North Texas continued to not quit after Smart hit five-straight free throws to make the score 65-58 with 4:18 remaining. The Golden Eagles made back-to-back buckets to lead 69-58 but the Mean Green made another run.
The Mean Green inched closer at 70-65 off a 7-2 run capped by a Woolridge layup with 2:12 on the clock. Southern Miss finished the game going 13-for-14 from the free throw line to seal the win. The Golden Eagles went 26-for-31 from the charity stripe.
Junior Tyree Griffin finished with a career-high 29 points with five assists to lead Southern Miss.
Southern Miss used a 22-6 first-half run over nine minutes to lead North Texas 42-28 at halftime. Woolridge finished with eight points and three assists. Temara added five points off the bench.
The Golden Eagles scored five points to open the game and led 7-2 off two free throw by Dominic Magee. North Texas responded with back-to-back buckets to cut the lead to 7-6 with 17:09 left in the half.
The Mean Green got within one point at 10-9 after a Smart three-pointer at the 16:25 mark. Southern Miss would explode with a 14-0 run to pull ahead 24-9.
North Texas couldn't get within single digits the rest of the half but a Temara three-pointer made the halftime score 42-28.
North Texas returns home to host Florida Atlantic Thursday, Jan. 25, streamed live on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. at the Super Pit.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
North Texas started a new lineup at Southern Miss - Ryan Woolridge, Roosevelt Smart, A.J. Lawson, Allante Holston and Zachary Simmons
Tope Arikawe set career-highs in points (13) and rebounds (12)
Woolridge has dished out 19 assists in his last two games
Smart has hit 3 or more three-pointers in seven-straight games