North Texas Uses Strong Defensive Effort In Win At UAB
Mean Green Have Won Four Straight Games
BIRMINGHAM, Ala - The North Texas men's basketball team held UAB scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game and led wire-to-wire in a huge 67-60 road win Thursday at Bartow Arena.
"I felt like from an effort standpoint defensively and game planning this was our best road win," head coach Grant McCasland said. "I am just so proud of the guys with how physical we were and how we got what we wanted defensively."
The Mean Green (14-10, 7-4 C-USA) had one of its best defensive games of the season holding UAB to just 3-for-25 from the three-point line, including 1-for-10 in the second half. North Texas also held the Blazers to just 23-for-63 from the field.
Four North Texas players finished in double-figures with sophomore Roosevelt Smart leading the team with 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Redshirt sophomore DJ Draper added 16 points off four three-pointers off the bench. Sophomore A.J. Lawson chipped in with 12 points and Ryan Woolridge had 11 points.
Freshman Zachary Simmons held UAB's Chris Cokley to just 3-for-8 shooting in key battle for North Texas. Cokley finished with 12 points and seven rebounds after coming into the game averaging 18.5 points and nine rebounds per game.
In the second half, the Mean Green scored the first five points to increase the lead to 17 points at 38-21 off a three-pointer from Smart and a jumper by junior Allante Holston.
UAB tried to make a run and got within 10 at 46-36 on a jumper by William Lee but North Texas would respond. Draper hit a three-pointer and Holston made a layup to build the lead back to 51-36 with 9:50 remaining.
With 7:35 left, UAB clawed back to a 10-point game at 51-41 but Draper answered with back-to-back three pointers.
The Blazers made it close late after Zack Bryant hit two free throws to make the score 63-58 but North Texas was able to hit just enough free throws in the end to make the final score 67-60.
North Texas started the game with a 12-0 run off great defense, including a steal and a layup by Woolridge.
It took UAB over seven minutes to finally score off a layup by Lewis Sullivan at the 12:33 mark. Woolridge kept attacking for the Mean Green helping build a 17-point lead at 21-4 with 10:02 left in the half.
Draper hit two of three free throws to extend the lead to 29-13. Draper had five first-half points.
The Blazers chipped away by outscoring North Texas 8-4 in the final four minutes of the first half. Woolridge finished with eight points and Lawson added eight points.
The Mean Green led 33-21 at halftime thanks to 24 of its 33 points in the paint.
North Texas continues its road trip by facing Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. broadcasted live on facebook courtesy of Stadium.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
North Texas won at UAB for the first time in school history and tied the all-time series at 3-3
It was the first wire-to-wire C-USA victory since 2014 when the Mean Green never trailed at Marshall 80-65
Ryan Woolridge and Roosevelt Smart have started all 24 games
Zachary Simmons has started the last 19 games
Mean Green are 4-2 on the road in Conference play