North Texas Battled Valiantly In Loss At Oklahoma
Mean Green Held Oklahoma To Lowest Scoring Output
NORMAN, OK - In a hard fought battle on the road, North Texas men's basketball ran out of gas in an 82-72 defeat at Oklahoma on Thursday night at Lloyd Noble Center.
Freshman sensation Trae Young, the nation's second leading scorer, proved to be too much for the Mean Green (4-4) scoring 32 of his team's 82 points. North Texas held Oklahoma to just two players in double-figures with Khadeem Lattin being the other with 12 points.
"I want to give a lot of credit to coach Lon Kruger," head coach Grant McCasland said. "Our guys gave everything they could. Guarding Trae Young was difficult and he came up with big shots in the end."
North Texas finished with 13 three-pointers, tying the sixth-best mark in school history, to rattle the Sooners. Sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart scored a game-high 15 points off five three-pointers. Senior Shane Temara added 11 points off three three-pointers. Sophomore A.J. Lawson finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and a career-high 6 assists.
"It was about being patient with the offense and making the extra pass," said McCasland. "We came up with the game plan to make sure we found our open shooters."
Freshman Zachary Simmons opened the second half with a dunk off the pass from Lawson to give North Texas a 40-38 lead. Oklahoma quickly tied the game at 40-40 with a dunk from Lattin at the 18:20 mark.
Young started to takeover scoring the next seven points on his own to give the Sooners a 47-40 lead. The lead would increase to eight points after Lattin made a tip-in with 12 minutes remaining.
North Texas wouldn't go away after a 6-2 run cut the lead in half at 56-52. The Mean Green kept pushing cutting the Oklahoma lead to one-point twice after stellar play from junior Jorden Duffy who made a reverse layup and a dunk from Simmons.
The Sooners responded with an 8-0 down the stretch and eventually pulled away by 10 with four minutes remaining. Smart would hit a late three-pointer to make the final score 82-72.
The Mean Green put together one of the best opening 20 minutes of the season by holding Oklahoma to 38 points, their lowest half of the season. North Texas couldn't miss from the three-point line going 9-for-17, including seven from Smart and Temara combined.
North Texas held the nation's second leading scorer scoreless until the 7:15 mark in the first half. Young finished the half with 11 points off 3-of-8 shooting.
The Mean Green came out swinging with a 6-0 lead off three-pointers from Temara and Smart. Oklahoma answered with a 7-3 run to cut the lead to 9-7. The Sooners didn't take their first lead till the 14:53 mark off a three-pointer from Matt Freeman.
With 7:15 remaining in the half, Oklahoma held its largest lead at 27-19 off a three-pointer from Young. Smart would answer with a three but Young drainer another to push the lead back to eight at 30-22.
North Texas would go on a 16-6 run to jump ahead 38-36 capped off by a three-pointer from Temara. Young would hit two free throws to make the halftime score 38-38.
North Texas will head to Arlington to face UT Arlington on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
North Texas starters for the third-straight game: Ryan Woolridge, Roosevelt Smart, A.J. Lawson, Zachary Simmons, Shane Temara
Sixth game in double-figures for Roosevelt Smart Mean Green outrebounded Oklahoma, 31-to-28
North Texas held Oklahoma to just 38 first-half points, their lowest of the season
Fifth game in double-figures for Shane Temara
Junior Jorden Duffy scored 12 second half points
Oklahoma scored 82 points, the fewest all season