Harris, Combs Power North Texas Past Texas College
Mean Green Top Century Mark In Second Straight Game To Improve To 2-0
DENTON --The fifth-highest scoring team in the nation, North Texas eclipsed the century mark for the second time in as many games this season, cruising to a 110-61 win over Texas College on Monday night in the Super Pit. It was the first time since the 1978-79 season that North Texas scored 100 or more points in back-to-back games.
Five players scored in double figures, led by junior guard DeAndre Harris and sophomore forward Jeremy Combs with a game-high 18 points each.
"Our guys came out and did a solid job tonight," head coach Tony Benford said. "We had really good effort. It's tough when you play a smaller team. They did a great job of spreading us out, and they got us in rotation quite a bit early. But in the second half, we came back and did a good job of getting in the gaps, contesting shooters and making them make shots over us. And then we were able to get out in transition and push the ball. That's how we want to play."
Harris was two points shy of his career high for points, going 5-of-6 from the floor, in 17 minutes off the bench. He made a career-high four 3-pointers, going a perfect 4-of-4 from behind the arc.
"DeAndre came in and did a really good job," Benford said. "He was solid offensively and defensively. He did a really good job of making shots, taking good shots and sharing the basketball."
Combs led the team in scoring for the second straight game, going 8-of-12 from the floor, including four dunks, to go along with six boards and a blocked shot. Senior forward Eric Katenda (15 points), junior guard Deckie Johnson (11 points) and junior guard Carrington Ward (10 points) joined Harris and Combs in double figures.
As a team, North Texas was an efficient 58.8 percent (40-of-68) from the floor, dishing out 20 assists compared just seven turnovers. Junior guard J-Mychal Reese led the way with eight assists, to go along with his eight points and six rebounds.
"Anytime you get 20 assists, I don't care who you're playing, you hope it's a good night," Benford said. "The other night, we had 18 assists but we had 20 turnovers, so I was proud of the way we cut down on our turnovers tonight."
The Mean Green locked down on defense, holding Texas College to a season-low 61 points and just 32.8 percent (22-of-67) shooting from the floor. They also turned a spirited defensive effort into offense, scoring 24 points off 20 Texas College turnovers and outscoring the Steers by a 28-0 margin in fast-break points.
North Texas went ahead 4-2 on a lay-up by freshman Allante Holston with 18:21 left in the first half, and the Mean Green led the rest of the way, leading by as many as 20 heading into halftime with a 50-34 lead.
Coming off a 25-point performance in the season opener, Combs led all scorers with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor, including three dunks, in the first half. Harris, playing in his first game of the season, added 12 points on 3-of-3 shooting, all from 3-point range, and 3-of-4 shooting from the free-throw line in the half.
Texas College opened the second half on a 9-5 run to pull within 55-43 with 17:47 left, before North Texas answered with a 7-0 run to push the lead back to 62-43 with 16:11 left. The Mean Green then put the game out of reach with 36-5 run late in the second half, stretching their lead to 103-56 with 1:56 left on the way to the 109-58 final.
Next up for North Texas
North Texas continues its five-game, season-opening home stand with the first of three games in the Mean Green Challenge, hosting Idaho on Monday, Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Super Pit.
Mean Green Quick Hits
- North Texas started the same starting five for the second straight game, improving to 2-0 with the starting lineup of Jeremy Combs, Allante Holston, Deckie Johnson, Khalil Fuller and J-Mychal Reese
- North Texas scored 100 or more points in consecutive games for the first time since the 1978-79 season, when they defeated Portland State, 102-78, and Texas-Arlington, 104-89, in back-to-back games
- Junior guard DeAndre Harris and senior Eric Katenda, a graduate transfer from Notre Dame, made their first appearances of the season
- North Texas had 12 different players score in the game
- North Texas held Texas College's leading scorer, junior Roy Shelton (17.7 points per game), without a point until the 0:51 mark in the first half and just nine points for the game
- Carrington Ward scored a career-high 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in just 11 minutes of action
- Katenda led all players with seven rebounds with three on the offensive glass and four on the defensive glass, to go along with 15 points
- North Texas finished with six dunks in the contest, led by four from Combs