Smart's School Record Not Enough In Loss At Middle Tennessee
Roosevelt Smart Scored 32 Points Off Seven Three-Pointers
MURFREESBORO, TN - Despite sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart breaking the school record for most three-pointers in a season, North Texas fell just short on the road at Middle Tennessee, 79-73, Saturday night at the Murphy Center.
"I told the guys the result was not acceptable," head coach Grant McCasland said. "We made some mistakes late in the game that cost us. I loved the way Ryan (Woolridge) kept going at them downhill and Roosevelt (Smart) had a nice game for us. We just needed a little more competiveness and toughness in the end."
Smart came into the game just seven three-pointers away from a new school record and did just that going 7-for-12 from downtown. Smart finished with 32 points off an efficient 11-of-17 shooting. His 91 three-pointers surpassed former Mean Green standout Calvin Watson (90), who set the record in 2006-07.
Sophomore Ryan Woolridge had an outstanding game running the offense almost recording a triple-double with 11 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in a full 40 minutes.
The Mean Green (14-11, 7-5 C-USA) had a bunch of opportunities late in the game to pull even but missed free throws and turnovers proved costly. North Texas finished the game with 18 turnovers and went 7-for-16 at the free throw line with Woolridge missing five.
With 5:40 remaining, North Texas and Middle Tennessee were tied at 69-69 after a Jorden Duffy three-pointer. The Blue Raiders responded with a three-pointer by Antwain Johnson to go back in front 72-69. North Texas missed from three and Middle Tennessee went back ahead 74-69 after two free throws by David Simmons.
The Mean Green couldn't get closer with the final score being 79-73. North Texas held the Blue Raiders to just 2-for-12 in the second half from downtown.
In the second half, Woolridge connected with Allante Holston on an Alley-op just 15 seconds in. After a defensive stop, Smart drove the lane and converted to cut the five-point halftime lead to just one.
With 16:22 remaining, North Texas took its first lead with a corner three-pointer by Smart to go ahead 49-47. Middle Tennessee would respond with a 5-0 run to regain the lead at 52-49.
The Blue Raiders tried to pull away after a three-pointer by Simmons to make the score 65-59 but North Texas would answer. Woolridge made a layup and Smart buried a three-pointer to cut the lead to 65-64 with 7:36 left.
Smart would get fouled at the three-point line and hit 2-of-3 to tie the game at 66-66 with 6:51 left on the clock. Five turnovers down the stretch would prove to be too much.
Middle Tennessee improved to 20-5, 12-1 in C-USA games but North Texas went toe-to-toe with the conference leader.
In a high-scoring first half, Middle Tennessee came away with a 45-40 halftime lead. Graduate transfer from Alabama Nick King stole the show with 23 points. Sophomore Roosevelt Smart wasn't far behind with 19 points off four three-pointers. Freshman Zachary Simmons added six points off three dunks.
The Blue Raiders jumped out to a 9-2 lead off two free throws by King. North Texas got within four points at 14-10 off a three-pointer from Smart with 14:41 left in the half.
With 8:46 on the clock, Middle Tennessee held its largest lead at 32-21 off a layup inside by David Simmons. The Mean Green answered to cut the lead to six points at 36-30 off a dunk by Simmons.
The Blue Raiders tried to pull away again after a layup by King pushed their lead back to 10 at 45-35 with 1:56 left in the opening half.
The Mean Green kept coming back as Smart drained a three-pointer and junior Jorden Duff hit a jumper to make the score 45-40 at halftime.
North Texas heads back home to welcome Western Kentucky on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 8 p.m. broadcasted live on Stadium.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
Smart hit seven three-pointers to break the single-season school record set by Calvin Watson in 2006-07
North Texas outrebounded Middle Tennessee, 38-to-25
Junior Jorden Duffy returned to play 13 minutes and score five points after missing his last seven games
Woolridge had a double-double with 11 points and 10 assists, first time someone at North Texas has done that since 2011.
Zachary Simmons made his 20th start in a row
Mean Green hit 10 three-pointers in the loss