Second Half Rally Dooms North Texas At Rutgers, 66-53
Mean Green Led By Junior Shane Temara's 16 Points
PISCATAWAY, NJ – The North Texas men’s basketball team held a one point lead at halftime but Rutgers (5-0) pulled away in the second half to win 66-53 Wednesday night at The RAC.
The Mean Green (1-3) showed a lot of effort tonight on the road holding the Scarlet Knights to just 36.5 percent off 23-of-63 from the field. North Texas did a nice job on outside shooters as Rutgers only went 3-for-20 from downtown.
"I think Steve (Pikiell)'s done a great job,” head coach Tony Benford said. “We tried to control tempo and they wanted to run, they're a great rebounding team. We wanted to do everything we could to control tempo and stay in the game. I thought we did that early on, but we couldn't keep them off the glass. Then they started making shots against our zone. I give them credit, they have a nice team, a really good team.”
Junior college transfer Shane Temara led the team in scoring with a career high 16 points (5-for-13) and hit four three-pointers. Senior Deckie Johnson had 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Graduate student Derail Green added eight points with two blocks and two three-pointers.
Rutgers came into the game ranked fifth in the nation in offensive rebounds and came away with 21 against North Texas. The Scarlet Knights were too much to handle after holding a 53-to-28 edge in rebounds.
North Texas came out with a defensive intensity in the first half holding Rutgers to only 24 points on 25 percent shooting (8-of-32).
The Scarlet Knights held a 5-2 lead earlier on after a three-point from Issa Thiam at the 17:22 mark. A three-pointer by Temara and another by Green helped North Texas tie the game at 8-8.
With 12:22 left in the half, Temara buried another three to give the Mean Green an early 11-8 lead. North Texas would hold a six-point advantage off a three-pointer from Green to lead 20-14 with 5:08 left in the half.
Rutgers was able to cut the lead to just one point after a layup from Nigel Johnson to make the halftime score 25-24 Mean Green.
In the second half, Rutgers pushed ahead with a 7-0 run capped by a layup from Desahwn Freeman. Johnson kept North Texas within striking distance with a three-pointer at the 15:27 mark to make the score 32-30.
With 9:20 left, senior J-Mychal Reese made a driving layup to get North Texas within three points at 41-38.
Rutgers went on another run to earn its biggest lead of the game at 55-42 with 5:12 remaining. The Mean Green continued to fight ending the game on a 11-5 run to fall 66-53 at Rutgers.
"I thought we played hard,” Benford said. “We are down five guys, five scholarship guys. When we get our whole team back, we will be very competitive. For us to play against a quality opponent we have to get healthy. Then we have put ourselves in position to have a great year.”
Next up for North Texas
North Texas heads back to Denton to host Niagara Friday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. in the third game of the Scarlet Knight Showcase.
Mean Green Quick Hits
-Graduate student Derail Green scored a season high eight points
-Junior college transfer Shane Temara scored a career high 16 points
-First start of the season for Rickey Brice Jr.
-Held Rutgers to a season-low 66 points
-Mean Green hit a season high nine three-pointers
-Johnson grabbed a season high seven rebounds