Ranked Razorbacks Down Mean Green Hoops With Late Run
NT Led With 11 Minutes To Play, But Hogs Turned Aside Mean Green Late
T.J. Taylor was effective at point guard, and scored a team-high 16 points at Arkansas.
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - North Texas executed its gameplan to near perfection for 30 minutes. The Mean Green looked stifling in its patented zone defense, weathered the Arkansas punches and even landed a few haymakers of its own. Most of all, Tony Benford's bunch valued the basketball.
But just when the Mean Green looked up to the task of taking down a ranked foe for the first time since 1971, No. 25 Arkansas used a 9-0 run to separate itself and grab an 89-73 win at Bud Walton Arena.
"I'm proud of my guys overall, but we've got to execute better in late game-situations," Benford said. "We can't play that well for 30 minutes and then give the game away. I give Arkansas credit. I think they're a top 10 team in the country, but I think our effort for most of the night was good enough to win this game."
The goal for North Texas was to limit its turnovers and slow the game down against an Arkansas team that prides itself playing the fastest 40 minutes in college basketball. NT turned the ball over a season-low 10 times in the game, posted a 28-26 edge in points in the paint and out-shot the Hogs. Even Arkansas' 21 offensive boards only turned into 17 points.
North Texas was in the driver's seat when a DeAndre Harris steal from the top of the arc led to a fast-break dunk that gave North Texas (4-2) a 55-54 lead with 11:57 remaining. After a timeout, Arkansas (5-0) fought back with the 9-0 run that ended NT's chances.
T.J. Taylor ran the point for the second time in his collegiate career, and led North Texas with 16 points. Jordan Williams tallied 12 points in the first half, but was limited to just three points in the second frame.
Jordan Williams was on fire in the first half, and passed NT Hall of Famer Jim Mudd for 15th in school history in career points. After his 15 point performance, Williams now has 1,128 for his career.
Entering tonight's contest Arkansas held a 13-0 edge in the all-time series, including a 6-0 edge in Fayetteville.
Tonight marked the 22nd time North Texas associate head coach Rob Evans coached against the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. He also spent four seasons as an assistant coach here.
The loss to No. 25 Arkansas gives NT 45 straight to ranked opponents, including four conesecutive losses to ranked Razorback teams. NT last beat a ranked team in 1970-71.
Arkansas was able to haul in 21 offensive rebounds, but the scrappy Mean Green defense limited them to 17 second-chance points.
North Texas heads to Stillwater, Okla. to take on Oklahoma State on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.