Mens's Basketball Grinds Out Win Over Nicholls
Williams Records 21-Point, 10-Rebound Double-Double
DENTON -- In terms of offensive output, there was not much in common between the North Texas men's basketball team's first and second games of the season. In terms of putting one in the win column, it was just the same for the Mean Green, as it improved to 2-0 on the short season.
After coasting to a 22-point win in its opening game against Arkansas-Monticello, North Texas pulled out a grind-it-out matchup with Nicholls, beating the Colonels 71-57 Monday night at the Super Pit.
With a 34-percent overall mark from the field, the shots were not falling for the home team on this night, but it continued to stay aggressive. The Mean Green forced Nicholls into committing 29 personal fouls, and then took advantage by going 34-44 from the line, adding up to 48-percent of North Texas' points.
"We turned it over way too often, but I challenged my team to continue to be the aggressor and get to the free throw line," head coach Tony Benford said. "Sometimes when it's a grinder, the free throw line can be the difference in the game."
Senior Jordan Williams led the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds, as he recorded his sixth-career double-double at North Texas. He went 11-12 from the line, improving to 93-percent from the stripe so far this season.
The 2-3 zone defense gave Nicholls fits for most of the game, as the Colonels missed their first 16 shots from beyond the arc. The visitors made a charge midway through the second half, hitting four consecutive three-pointers and getting the game within seven with 4:58 remaining. But that was the closest they got, as North Texas finished the game on a 14-7 run.
Rebounding was also a key to the Mean Green's second win of the season, amassing 56 total boards - 20 offensive and 36 defensive - which amounted to a plus-22 advantage on the glass. Along with Williams, forward Muhammed Ahmed also grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench in only 22 minutes played.
"I thought we did a pretty good job defensviely," Benford continued, "but we really couldn't get into a flow offensively."
Guard T.J. Taylor made his season debut and scored 14 points on 4-8 shooting from the field - including North Texas' only three-pointer - and went 5-6 from the line. He also added seven rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.
Next up for North Texas
The Mean Green will host the Delaware State Hornets Wednesday November 19 at the Super Pit. North Texas will look to jump out to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
- Junior College transfer Carrington Ward made his first career North Texas start.
- Along with Taylor, guard DeAndre Harris also made his season debut. He scored seven points, going 5-6 from the free throw line.
- Forward Jeremey Combs was named C-USA Freshman of the Week earlier today. He played 13 minutes through foul trouble and contributed five points and three rebounds in 13 minutes.
- With the win, North Texas improved to 2-0 for only the fifth time in the last 20 seasons.