North Texas Battles But Drops Road Game At UAB
Combs Records Sixth Straight Double-Double In Loss
Sophomore Jeremy Combs earned his sixth straight double-double in a loss at UAB (photo by Rick Yeatts).
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The North Texas men’s basketball team held a two-point halftime lead but UAB scored 45 second half points to secure the nation’s second longest winning streak at 14 games in a 78-57 win Saturday night at Bartow Arena.
The Mean Green played a strong first half holding a 35-33 lead but UAB adjusted scoring 45 second half points to cruise to victory. North Texas falls to 7-13 overall and 2-5 in conference play. UAB, the defending C-USA tournament champions, is 17-3 with a perfect 7-0 C-USA record.
“I thought we played extremely hard but couldn’t put two halves together tonight,” head coach Tony Benford said. “We played a very good first half against a really tough team but too many mistakes cost us in the second half.”
The Mean Green shot 37.1 percent from the field off 23-of-62 and was just two of 17 from the three point line. UAB shot 55.2 percent in the second half (16-of-29) and an even 50.0 percent for the game. North Texas did out-rebound the Blazers 40-to-31 with two players finishing with double-doubles.
Sophomore Jeremy Combs finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds earning his sixth straight double-double. Combs was an efficient seven of 13 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 in the game. Junior Deckie Johnson also secured his first double-double of the season with 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Senior Eric Katenda added 12 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.
North Texas finished a perfect nine of nine from the free throw line shooting 90.0 percent or higher for the first time in four years.
In the first half, North Texas set the tone with physical play taking a 6-2 lead off a couple of layups, including a fast break bucket by Reese with 15:58 left in the half.
The Mean Green increased the lead to 10-4 after Combs knocked down two free throws with 13:35 on the clock. UAB went on an 8-0 run to take a 12-10 lead off a fast break jumper by Robert Brown with 10:57 remaining in the first frame.
North Texas continued to play hard with a 13-4 run to retake the lead at 23-16 capped by a Johnson three pointer. The lead ballooned to eight points but UAB rallied with a 17-10 run to even the game at 33-33.
Johnson ended the half with a fade away jumper to give North Texas a 35-33 halftime lead.
UAB stormed out of the second half with a 13-4 run thanks to three made three-pointers to regain the lead at 46-39 with 17:09 left.
With 12:34 remaining in the game, freshman Khalil Fuller made a tough layup after getting a couple of offensive rebounds to cut UAB’s lead to 53-47.
The Blazers would put the game out of reach with a 20-10 run over the next eight minutes to lead 72-57 with 3:56 left to play.
UAB would end the game with 78 points and didn’t let North Texas score a basket in the last four minutes.
North Texas will have a week to prepare for a road game at Rice on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. in Houston
Mean Green Quick Hits
-North Texas was perfect from the free throw line (nine of nine), shooting 90.0 percent of better for the first time in four years (12/6/12- 15-for-16 vs. St. Louis)
-UAB has won 21 straight home games and 14 games in a row (second longest streak in the nation)
-Sophomore Jeremy Combs recorded his sixth straight double-double
-Senior Eric Katenda scored in double figures for the fifth time this season
-Junior Deckie Johnson scored double figures for the fourth straight game and 15th time this season
-North Texas hit a three pointer for the 71st straight game