Box: NT 77 Portland 72 - 2OT
North Texas Season Stats
PORTLAND, Ore. - North Texas overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to force overtime, which set the table for T.J. Taylor. The junior scored a team-high 21 points, 12 of them in the extra sessions, to lead the Mean Green to a 77-72 double-overtime win over Portland in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic finale.
The Mean Green (3-3) shot 77.8 percent from the floor in the overtimes, including 4-of-4 from 3-point. Maurice Aniefiok hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first overtime, and Taylor splashed home a pair from deep in the second overtime - the second of which gave NT a 71-68 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
This is just the 12th North Texas game to ever reach double-overtime, and NT's first victory in such a game since 2009 at UT Arlington.
"This was a gritty win," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. "This team clamped down in the second half and was determined to pull this game out. Our defense was outstanding, and I couldn't be more proud of the way this team clawed back."
The Mean Green hit a dry spell midway through the first half that allowed the Pilots (3-3) to gain the upper hand in a tight contest. NT went 1-of-12 from the floor over a seven minute span, but stellar zone defense from North Texas held the Pilots to just eight points over that period.
Despite nine turnovers and 31 percent shooting, North Texas went into the half down just 28-20.
The Mean Green gathered itself quickly in the second, and a Jordan Williams breakaway dunk closed the Pilot lead to seven points with just over 14 minutes to play. Taylor made it a two-point game, 39-37, with a free throw with 8:59 on the clock, and a Chris Jones coast-to-coast bucket gave NT its first lead of the day, 51-49, with 3:05 left.
Jones would later put the game on ice with a tough layup with 35 seconds on the double-overtime clock.
Next up for North Texas
The Mean Green returns to Denton to face Incarnate Word on Tuesday night at the Super Pit. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m..
Mean Green Quick Hitters
T.J. Taylor scored a team-high 21 points to reach the 20-point plateau for a second straight game. The Denison, Texas, native scored 24 in Friday's game against Idaho.
North Texas overcame a 14-point deficit with 16:47 left in regulation.
Tonight was just the 12th North Texas game to reach double-overtime, and the first since Feb. of 2012. The last time North Texas won in double-overtime was in 2009 (at UT Arlington, 101-99, 11/18/09).
NT is now 5-7 all-time in games decided in multiple overtimes. The longest game in school history was a 96-95 quadruple overtime loss at Baylor in Dec. 17, 1988.
Tonight's game was the first ever meeting between North Texas and Portland on the hardwood.