North Texas Fades In Second Half, Falls To ODU, 70-57
Monarchs Use Physical Play To Wear Down Mean Green
Colin Voss had a team-high 16 points against Old Dominion Saturday (photo by Rick Yeatts)
DENTON - Under intense physical defensive pressure, North Texas wore down in the second half and had its five-game win streak snapped Saturday at the Super Pit in a 70-57 loss to Old Dominion.
The Mean Green went toe-to-two with the Monarchs in the first half, leading throughout and by as much as nine. But ODU, subtle as a sledgehammer, relentlessly pushing and bodying North Texas, contesting every possession and controlling the boards and enjoying a 26-6 advantage in points in the paint, eventually emptied the Mean Green gas tanks and seized control in the second half. They limited NT leading scorer Jordan Williams to eight points and held the Mean Green to just 24 second-half points.
"I'm disappointed we couldn't win this for our seniors," North Texas coach Tony Benford said. "We need to learn from this one."
With Williams limited, the offense fell to Colin Voss, who was NT's top-scorer with 16, Maurice Aniefiok with 13, and T.J. Taylor with 12. ODU, meanwhile, got 24 points from reigning Conference USA Player of the Week Trey Freeman.
ODU (22-6 on the year and 11-5 in C-USA) came into the game allowing the fewest points per game in Conference USA and played a very physical brand of basketball from the start. The Mean Green, however, countered by working for three-point shots, canning three of them early, and by drawing fouls and cashing in the ensuing free throws, making 10 of 15 in the first half. Aniefiok had 10 points in the opening half and Voss added eight.
The North Texas defense held the Monarchs in check throughout the first half, allowing the Mean Green (14-14, 8-8) to build as much as a nine-point lead. But like a pair of boxers worn down by body blows, both teams showed fatigue and went the final three minutes of the first half without scoring. That toll continued to show on North Texas in the second half while ODU found a reserve of energy, going on an 13-0 run to take its first lead of the game.
The lead ballooned to 45-38 before a three by Taylor with 11:51 to play got North Texas back into the game, and the Mean Green pulled within two at 47-45 before a 6-0 run put the Monarchs in charge for good. ODU padded the final margin with free throws in the final minutes.
North Texas had one its better performances of the season at the free-throw line, making 20 of 28 attempts.
ODU came into the game allowing a C-USA best 57.0 points per game.
North Texas managed just two points in the paint in the second half, while ODU scored 16 from the lane.
The Mean Green was out-rebounded in the second half by a 17-9 margin.
North Texas concludes the regular season with a pair of in-state road games next week. The Mean Green travel to El Paso to play UTEP on Thursday, Mar. 5, at 8 p.m., then heads to San Antonio to take on UTSA on Saturday, Mar. 7, at 2 p.m.