Slow Start Deflates North Texas On The Road At Southern Mississippi

Feb. 27, 2016

Freshman Ja'Michael Brown scored 15 points on his birthday in a loss at Southern Miss. (photo by Rick Yeatts). 

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The North Texas men’s basketball team fell behind early and never recovered dropping its final road game of the season Saturday night at Southern Mississippi, 81-70.

The Mean Green fall to 11-18 overall and is 6-10 with just two Conference USA games remaining. NT sits in 11th place but can still jump to the seventh seed with two home wins next week.

“I give Southern Miss. a lot of credit because they showed a lot of pride here on their senior night,” head coach Tony Benford said. “I felt like they made a run early and we just couldn’t recover not to mention they won all the hustle battles. I thought we played a decent second half but couldn’t make enough stops to come away with the win. We need to come out and play with passion at home next week.”

Sophomore Jeremy Combs led the team with 15 points off four of seven from the field and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Combs also went seven of 10 from the free throw line in the defeat. Freshman Ja’Michael Brown scored all of his 15 points from downtown going five of seven from deep.

Junior Carrington Ward provided a spark off the bench scoring a career 13 points off four of eight from the field. Ward scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half keeping North Texas within striking range. Classmate J-Mychal Reese added 13 points and was five of seven from the free throw line.

It was a tough shooting night for the Mean Green finishing the game at 38.9 percent off 21 of 54 from the field. North Texas only shot 34.4 percent in the second half off 11 of 32 from the floor.

In the first half, Southern Mississippi came out of the gates hot scoring the first nine points off three made three pointers. Reese made two free throws to cut the lead to 9-2 with17:38 left in the half.

USM built a 17-8 advantage off a three pointer from Michael Ramey with 15:24 remaining in the half. Combs threw down a dunk to inch North Texas to within six points at 20-14 at the 10:43 mark.

With 5:25 left in the half, Southern Miss. took a 27-17 lead off a free throw from Kourtlin Jackson. The Mean Green went on a 7-0 run capped by a three pointer from Carrington Ward.

Ward would keep North Texas close with a jumper and was fouled on the play. After a made free throw, the Mean Green closed the half down 35-30.

In the second half, the Golden Eagles increased their lead to 11 points thanks to a 10-4 run capped by a three pointer from Michael O’Donnell with 16:12 remaining.

Combs grabbed an offensive rebound and scored the put back to cut the lead to seven points at 46-39 with 12:35 on the clock. Southern Miss. would break the game open with a 14-6 run earning their largest lead of the game at 17 points, 62-45.

The Mean Green would make a late run thanks to a 6-0 run with 1:04 remaining. Reese nailed a three point play and Brown followed with a triple from downtown to make the score 71-62.

Southern Miss. senior Kourtlin Jackson would not be denied thou making his next six free throws to seal the win. North Texas would drop their final road game of the season, 81-70.

What's Next

North Texas finishes the regular season with two home games starting with Old Dominion Thursday, March 3 at 7 p.m. inside the Super Pit.

Mean Green Quick Hits
-Junior Carrington Ward set a new career high with 13 points
- Junior J-Mychal Reese has scored in double figures for the 23rd time this season
-14th double-double of the season for Jeremy Combs
-Freshman Ja’Michael Brown scored in double figures for the 11th time on his birthday



North Texas Mean Green