North Texas Men Fall To UALR, 62-57
A strong defensive effort that held Arkansas-Little Rock below its season-scoring average was not enough to overcome an injury-riddled North Texas roster that couldn't find enough sources of offense, resulting in a 62-57 Mean Green loss.
DENTON, Texas - A strong defensive effort that held Arkansas-Little Rock below its season-scoring average was not enough to overcome an injury-riddled North Texas roster that couldn't find enough sources of offense, resulting in a 62-57 Mean Green loss Saturday night at the Super Pit.
North Texas stayed close throughout, and a second-half scoring run briefly put the Mean Green in front. But ultimately North Texas could not keep pace with only four players scoring, and just three accounting for all but 55 of the Mean Green's 57 points.
"They (UALR) did a good job executing and they play really good defense," North Texas coach Tony Benford said. "Four guys scoring, that's not enough. We didn't move the ball as well as usual, and offensively we were kind of stagnant at times."
One of those point-producers, Tony Mitchell, fouled out with 1:28 remaining, leaving the Mean Green with little firepower and down by nine points. Behind Jordan Williams and Roger Franklin, North Texas drew within four in the final minute but could get no closer.
"We had opportunities," Benford said. "We wanted to continue to be aggressive and attack, but we missed some free throws. If we make those, we're right there."
Williams had 22 points to lead all scorers, and Franklin had 20 points and 12 rebounds, his second double-double of the season. His night included seven offensive rebounds.
"Roger's our team captain, the backbone of our team," Benford said. "He just battles every night. He's a warrior."
The loss, the Mean Green's second straight at home to a Sun Belt division leader, drops North Texas to 8-14 on the season and 3-8 in Sun Belt play. West-Division leader UALR is now 14-9 and 8-4.
All five of the North Texas starters played more than 30 minutes. While Williams, Franklin and Mitchell were 18 of 39 from the field, the rest of the roster was 0-of-13.
The teams stayed within three points of one another with five ties and three lead changes through the first 12 minutes, but a burst of three-point shooting sent UALR to a 28-19 lead with five minutes to play in the half. One minute later, North Texas pulled three on a 6-0 run ignited by ball handling and passing by P.J. Hardwick and finishes by Jordan Williams.
But North Texas only got scoring from Williams, Franklin and Mitchell in the half, while UALR got production from eight players. Although both teams hit 11-of-30 field goal attempts, UALR's balance, five-of-eight three-point shooting, and five-of-six performance from the free throw line pushed the Trojans lead to 32-25 at halftime.
The Mean Green opened the second half on a 15-3 scoring run, capped by a Williams three-pointer for a 37-35 lead with 11:51 to play. UALR, however, responded with a 7-0 run of its own, re-taking the lead for good.
North Texas is on the road for its next two games, January 31 against Louisiana-Lafayette and February 2 at Arkansas State.