Stingy UTEP Defense Clamps Down On Mean Green
Miners Defeat Men's Basketball, 74-54
DENTON, Texas - UTEP used stingy defense to hold the North Texas men's basketball team to 25 percent field goal shooting, breaking the Mean Green's four-game win streak and handing the home squad a 74-54 loss on Sunday afternoon at the Super Pit.
North Texas falls to 15-14 and 6-9 in Conference USA, while UTEP improves to 21-9 and 11-4 in the league.
"Our offense was stagnant," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. "I give them credit. Their length creates problems. We just didn't finish. Tonight, they out-toughed us. We have to regroup from this. I am very disappointed in our performance tonight."
UTEP used its defense, and an offense that shot 46 percent from the field in the first half, to jump out to an early lead against the Mean Green. The Miners, who rank ninth in the NCAA in field goal defense, held North Texas to 24 percent shooting in the game, a season low and the lowest percentage in five years for the Mean Green.
The Miners were able to extend their lead to as many as 25 points in the second half behind 52 percent shooting from the field. The visitors dominated all facets of the game from shooting to rebounding (46 to 33).
North Texas got off to a slow start against the Miners. The Mean Green made just two field goals in the opening seven minutes. Colin Voss led off the game with a jumper, but the Mean Green did not make another field goal until after UTEP had built an 18-3 lead.
The Mean Green worked hard to recover, going on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to six points, 18-12. UTEP's big men proved to be trouble for the Mean Green. Matt Willms and John Bohannon combined to score 17 of UTEP's opening 32 points. Willms finished as team's leading scorer with 14 points.
UTEP was also able to stretch the perimeter with the shooting of C.J. Cooper. He went 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the first half. His second 3-pointer gave UTEP its largest lead, 18-3, at 13:25. Cooper finished the game with 13 points.
North Texas scored seven of the final 11 points of the first period to enter intermission down by 13 points, 36-21.
The 21 points was the second-fewest points scored by the Mean Green in the first half this season. The home team finished with 54 points, the third-fewest points recorded this season.
Next up for North Texas
North Texas finishes up the regular season with a final home game on Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. against Tulsa.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
UTEP has now won the last five meetings between the two teams and takes a 5-2 advantage. The teams have not met since 1974.
North Texas scored 21 points in the first half, its second-lowest point totals in an opening period this season. The Mean Green scored 24 points in the first period last game against UTSA.
North Texas is 3-13 when trailing at intermission.
Jordan Williamsscored his fourth-straight game in double-figures with 13 points. He also recorded his fourth double-double of the season.
UTEP held the edge in the rebound category, 46-33.
Alzee Williams led all scorers with 15 points. He led three Mean Green players in double-figures.
North Texas finished with 54 points, the third-fewest points this season.