Green Hits Key 3-Pointer In Mean Green Men's Basketball Win
North Texas Defeats Hartford, 81-78
DENTON -- After being held scoreless for almost the entire second half, Derail Green hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch to help lead the North Texas men's basketball team to an 81-78 victory against Hartford on Sunday afternoon at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green won their second straight game with both of the victories coming at home.
"Those guys can score," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford about Hartford. "I knew (Jalen) Ross was a good player. I thought our guys showed a lot of grit down the stretch. We made some stops. Derail hit a great shot. We showed toughness tonight. I'm really proud of those guys."
The game was close from start to finish, featuring nine ties and 19 lead changes. The game tightened up as the second half wore on with neither team leading by more than five points. The final five minutes was a one-possession game until Green hit his 3-pointer.
Green and freshman A.J. Lawson led the Mean Green in the first half with nine points each. Green went scoreless in the second half until he hit a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the game.
On a play designed for Deckie Johnson to go at the basket, the guard instead found an open Green who hit his second 3-pointer of the game. The basket gave North Texas an 80-76 lead and some much-needed breathing room.
North Texas still had to make some free throws. J-Mychal Reese made 1-of-2 to give Hartford an opportunity on the last possession. Jason Dunne missed a 3-pointer with three seconds left to seal the win for the Mean Green.
Hartford took a 38-36 halftime lead behind its 3-point shooting. The Hawks went 6-for-12 from behind the arc in the first half, including four 3-pointers in the final five minutes to take the lead into the break.
The Hawks continued their hot shooting from behind the arc in the second half with seven 3-pointers, but North Texas kept pace.
Lawson hit a three to put North Texas ahead 55-50 at the 11:18 mark followed by Ja'Michael Brown's 3-pointer which kept the Mean Green ahead by four points 61-57 at 8:27. Johnson continued his stellar shooting in the second half, hitting a 3-pointer at 7:17 to place North Texas on top by five, 64-59. Shane Temara had two 3-pointers in the game, including one at the 4:50 mark that extended the Mean Green's lead to five points again, 69-64.
Ross, who led all scorers with 29 points, ended the Mean Green's final run with his team's last 3-pointer that tied the game 69-69 with 3:49 left on the clock.
In his first career start, Lawson led the Mean Green with 17 points. He led a balanced attack, leading five players in double-figures.
"He plays with a lot of confidence," Benford said about Lawson. "He can make plays. I'm proud of his progression."
As a team, the Mean Green showed more patience in their attack, passing the ball around the perimeter until a good shot opened up. North Texas tied a season high with 14 assists.
The Mean Green continues their homestand with a day game on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 11:30 a.m. against Texas College.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
Derail Green scored a season-high nine points by the end of the first half. He finished with 12 points.
North Texas shot 51 percent from the field in the first half, the second-highest first-half percentage this season. The Mean Green finished with 49.1 shooting from the field.
The Mean Green made 13 3-pointers in the game, tying for the seventh most in school history for a single game.
Deckie Johnson scored his fifth game in double-figures with 15 points. Thirteen of those points were scored in the second half.
Six different Mean Green players hit at least two 3-pointers in the game.
North Texas gave up a season-high 13 3-pointers.