Big Night: North Texas Tributes George Dunham, Blasts Charlotte
Mean Green Run Win Streak To Five In Final Game For Play-By-Play Man George Dunham
George Dunham and his family watch a tribute video at halftime of Thursday's game (photo by David Pyke)
DENTON - The view from a season-high winning streak apparently feels pretty good to the North Texas basketball team, so much so that the Mean Green decided to extend its stay another night.
Thursday, North Texas won its fifth-straight game of the year with a crushing 81-65 decision over Charlotte, avenging an earlier loss to the 49ers and moving over .500 on the season (14-13) and in Conference USA play (8-7). North Texas led this one throughout.
In a confrontation at the Super Pit between an all-offense, no-defense squad in Charlotte and a much more balanced team in North Texas, balance won this night. Charlotte entered the game as the top-scoring unit in Conference USA at 73.7 points per game but with the 13th-ranked scoring defense, and the Mean Green confounded the 49er offense and exploited their defense. North Texas held Charlotte to 43.6-percent field-goal shooting and to 31.3 percent from three-point range, well beneath their C-USA-best 38.3-percent season average. Offensively, North Texas hit 54.2 percent of its field goals, including a season-best 56.3 percent from the three-point arc, committing just seven turnovers and scoring more than 80 points for the second time this year.
"We came out with a chip on our shoulder because of the way we lost at Charlotte in January," Mean Green guard Maurice Aniefiok said. "We let that game get away from us, but we feel like we're better than we showed that night and we wanted to prove it."
North Texas charged through the 49ers from the opening tip. Aniefiok led the initial assault, drilling a pair of three-pointers as the Mean Green hit its first five shots to open a 10-point lead in the first four minutes of play. The Mean Green defense, meanwhile, chased the 49ers off the three-point line, successfully patrolled the paint and forced eight first-half turnovers to contribute to a lead that reached 17 points at 28-11.
When the Mean Green shooting touch finally cooled in the final minutes of the first half, Charlotte rode a 7-0 run to get back in the game, pulling within nine points. But, denied its league-best three-point game, the 49ers never got any closer.
Jordan Williams went on his own scoring run late in the first half, scoring eight points in a 90-second span to pushed the advantage back to a secure margin at halftime, 41-28, and the Mean Green opened up a 20-point lead on a steal and dunk by DeAndre Harris with 9:25 to play in the second half.
Williams and Harris led the scoring for North Texas with 17 apiece, and Aniefiok finished with 15.
George Dunham, the voice of Mean Green athletics for a quarter of a century, called his final game as North Texas play-by-play man on Thursday. Dunham is retiring from play-by-play duties, but he will continue as co-host of the morning-drive show on KTCK Sportsradio The Ticket. Tributes from fellow broadcasters were played on the Super Pit's display screen throughout the game.
This is the latest in a season that North Texas has been over .500 since 2011.
Charlotte made its first trip to Denton on Thursday. North Texas has faced the 49ers three times in Charlotte and once on a neutral court.
The Mean Green's five-game win streak is the team's longest since March, 2011.
North Texas plays its final home game of the season Saturday, Feb. 28, against a 20-win team in Old Dominion. It's an early tipoff for Saturday's senior day, with play commencing at 4:30.