Mean Green's Second-Half Rally Comes Up Short
Men's Basketball Falls To ODU, 76-70
Ja'Michael Brown scored 11 points against ODU (Photo by David Minton)
DENTON -- A furious rally by the Mean Green in the final minutes of the game came up just short as the North Texas basketball team fell to Old Dominion, 76-70, on Thursday night in the Super Pit.
"The guys played hard and played to win," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. "We played against a good team. They are a solid team. Without Jeremy, it's tough."
Jeremy Combs, the Mean Green's leading scorer and rebounder, played limited minutes and scored just six points in the first half before leaving the game with a lower-leg injury.
Despite missing Combs, the Mean Green came back from a 17-point deficit in the second half and was within five points of ODU several times. The Monarchs and their leading scorer Trey Freeman always had an answer and then hit free throws when the Mean Green was forced to foul.
ODU opened the second half with a 13-2 run to quickly build a double-digit lead, 43-26 at 15:11. Deckie Johnson, who played only six minutes in the first half due to early fouls, started a Mean Green surge with a 3-pointer, his first points of the game.
Over the next six minutes, Johnson and Mean Green methodically began cutting into the lead. A three-point play by J-Mychal Reese capped the 18-6 run and brought the home team within five points, 49-44, at 9:29.
North Texas cut the lead to five points five more times over the next eight minutes, but ODU responded each time with a field goal or a free throw. With under a minute to play, Ja'Michael Brown hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 72-67. North Texas was forced to foul, and ODU made both.
Johnson gave North Texas one more opportunity, hitting three straight free throws after being fouled from behind the arc. The free throws cut the ODU to four points, 74-70, with 24 seconds left on the clock. ODU hit free throws to seal the win.
The first half was a low-scoring affair for both teams. North Texas made just eight field goals, while ODU tallied 14. Neither team led by more than four points until the Monarchs scored the final two baskets of the period to enter half ahead by six points, 30-24.
North Texas finishes up the regular season with a Saturday night match-up against Charlotte at 7 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hits
North Texas tied a season low with its eight baskets in the first half.
North Texas posted its second-lowest field-goal percentage in the first half (30.8 percent).
North Texas posted its second-highest free-throw percentage of the season (88.5)
J'Mychal Reese scored 13 points, his 25th game of the season in double-figures.
Ricky Brice Jr. scored 11 points, his third game this season in double-figures. He played a season-high 22 minutes.
Despite limited minutes, Deckie Johnson scored 18 points, his 22nd game in double figures. He scored all 18 points in the second half.
Jeremy Combs scored six points, tying for his lowest output of the season. He also played a season-low 19 minutes with just one minute in the second half.