North Texas Turned Away By Second Half Burst At Middle Tennessee
Mean Green Outscored 52 To 32 In The Second Half
Junior J-Mychal Reese scored a game high 20 points in a road loss at Middle Tennessee (photo by MT athletics).
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The North Texas men’s basketball team trailed by two points at halftime but a second half cold streak gave Middle Tennessee a home 86-64 victory Thursday night at the Murphy Center.
The Mean Green drop to 7-12 overall and are 2-4 in the Conference USA with the defeat.
“I give a lot of credit to Middle Tennessee who came out in the second half and shot the ball really well,” head coach Tony Benford said. “They are a really deep tough and really tough inside. We just committed too many turnovers tonight and that really cost us.”
North Texas finished the game shooting 43.4 percent from the field off 23-of-53. The Mean Green hit 45.5 percent (five of 11) from the three point line. NT committed 17 turnovers that led to 21 points for the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee also finished with 30 bench points and led the points in the paint battle 46-to-26.
Junior J-Mychal Reese scored 20 points in the loss, including a half court buzzer beater to end the first half. Reese had four assists and two rebounds in 37 minutes. Sophomore Jeremy Combs added 13 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double. Combs has eight double-doubles on the season. Junior Deckie Johnson finished with 10 points off three of six shooting and pulled down six rebounds.
In the first half, North Texas took an early 4-0 lead off two baskets from Eric Katenda forcing a timeout for Middle Tennessee at the 17:10 mark.
The Blue Raiders would settle in scoring seven straight points capped by a Giddy Potts three pointer to make the score 7-4. Johnson nailed a jumper at the 14:13 mark to even the score at 9-9 in the first half.
Middle Tennessee would build a five point lead at 20-15 with 6:51 remaining after a fast break dunk by Jaqawn Raymond. MT kept pushing increasing its lead to 27-21 after a layup by Simpson with 2:22 left in the half.
The Mean Green closed the gap with a 11-7 run thanks to a half court buzzer beating three-point by Reese to end the half.
In the second half, Middle Tennessee was fueled by Reggie Upshaw who scored 15 points (six of nine shooting) and grabbed eight rebounds in the second half alone.
The Blue Raiders raced to a 13-point lead at 52-39 opening the second half with an 18-4 run with 13:54 remaining.
Middle Tennessee would control the half with offensive rebounds and timely shots increasing the lead to 22 points at 81-59 with 2:20 left on the clock.
North Texas never could get closer as MT improved to 8-1 all-time against North Texas at the Murphy Center.
North Texas remains on the road to face defending C-USA tournament champion UAB Saturday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala.
Mean Green Quick Hits
-Sophomore Jeremy Combs recorded his fifth straight double-double tying Tony Mitchell with the most consecutive double doubles
-Junior J-Mychal Reese scored 20 plus points for the fourth time this season
-Junior Deckie Johnson scored double figures for the third straight game and 14th time this season
-North Texas hit a three pointer for the 70th straight game