Lawson Nets Career High In Loss At Sam Houston 76-70
Mean Green Comeback Falls Short
HUNTSVILLE – The North Texas men’s basketball team staged a furious comeback during the final minutes against Sam Houston State, but a slow start to the second half prevented the Mean Green from completing the rally in a 76-70 loss Saturday night at Johnson Coliseum.
The Mean Green are 5-5 after the loss and Sam Houston improves to 8-3 with the win. North Texas is 0-5 in the last five road meetings against the BearKats.
Four North Texas players finished in double-figures with freshman A.J. Lawson leading the way with a career-high 18 points (7-for-14), four rebounds, four steals and two dunks. Junior Jeremy Combs added 13 points and seven rebounds.
The Bearkats opened the second frame of a tight contest by scoring 15 straight points, a run that was sufficient enough to hold off the Mean Green in the final moments of the game. North Texas, however, rode the momentum of Lawson and Ryan Woolridge, making his season debut, with a series of drives and explosive plays to cut the deficit to three.
Woolridge shot attempt at 73-70 score was blocked and SHSU put the game away with free throws to seal the win. Woolridge had a dazzling debut with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal.
North Texas got off to a slow start on both ends early. Sam Houston’s Aurimas Majauskas controlled the paint, scoring six points in the first four minutes. The Mean Green also struggled to shoot the ball early, shooting 37.5 percent from the field during the same span.
North Texas needed a spark to stay in the contest, so Benford called on his bench to get things going. The move led to a 14-2 run that would eventually help North Texas take a 33-32 lead into halftime. Senior forward Derail Green scored seven points and hit a pair of threes to contribute to the comeback. Lawson’s five points and three free throws kept the back-and-forth affair in favor of the Mean Green at intermission.
North Texas only went 2-of-9 from three-point land in the opening half, but the unit tightened up on the defensive end and held the Bearkats scoreless from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Bearkats made adjustments after the break and opened with a huge run to start the second stanza, taking a 47-33 lead. Green made a jumper to break the scoring streak for SHSU and Wooldridge’s driving layup cut the deficit to ten points, but the Bearkats maintained their control on both ends and prevented North Texas from mounting a comeback.
The Mean Green return to Denton for a matchup against Southeastern Louisiana on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7:00 p.m. at the Super Pit.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
• Freshman guard Ryan Woolridge made his Mean Green debut at the 17:46 mark of the first half.
• Deckie Johnson has started all ten games for North Texas.
• Derail Green made his ninth start of the season.
• A.J. Lawson’s 18 points is a career-high.
• North Texas had a season-high 37 bench points