Mean Green Basketball's Comeback Comes Up Just Short
San Diego Makes Game-Winning Three-Pointer
DENTON -- Down by as many as 20 points, the Mean Green men's basketball team came back to hold a two-point lead with 28 seconds left, but Olin Carter III hit the game-winning 3-pointer for the Toreros to give San Diego a 69-68 victory on Thursday night in the Super Pit.
"I thought we played well to get back into the game," said North Texas head coach Tony Benford. "It was a very heated, competitive game. We had to make one stop in the game, and we couldn't do it. They made the play."
Carter's 3-pointer at the edge of the court put San Diego ahead, 69-68, with seven seconds left. J-Mychal Reese raced down the court following the basket and hit a short jumper but was called for the charge with one second left on the clock. Carter missed the ensuing free throws but time ran out before the Mean Green could run a play.
"We didn't get the call," said Benford. "That's part of the game. I give San Diego credit."
After entering half with a 10-point lead, San Diego extended its advantage at the start of the second period to 20 points, 45-25, with a 10-0 run.
As the Toreros' hot shooting hand cooled off, North Texas began to hit shots. A.J. Lawson led the Mean Green on an 8-0 run to cut the Toreros' lead to nine points, 49-40, at 12:35. Lawson scored six straight points, including a fast-break dunk.
Ja'Michael Brown provided spark off the bench, making two shots in the Mean Green run to keep the deficit to single-digits, 51-42, at 11:13. Ryan Woolridge was also instrumental off the bench. He converted a 3-point play to bring the home team within four points, 62-58.
San Diego continued to struggle from the field; the visitors made only one field goal in the final seven minutes of the game. They were successful at getting to the line, however; going 15-for-21 from the charity stripe to stay in the game.
After going 2-for-4 from the free-throw line in the first half, North Texas was more successful in the second period. Reese cut the San Diego lead down to one point with two free throws at 1:39. North Texas scored 14 points from the charity stripe in the second period.
North Texas missed a huge opportunity to take the lead on its next possession. Brown came up with a steal and Combs missed the dunk on the fast break and two ensuing putback attempts. Combs did tie the game, 66-66, with a made free-throw, and Reese gave North Texas its first and only lead with a charging layup, 68-66, with 28 seconds left.
The Mean Green takes a break for the holidays and will open conference play on the road against Charlotte on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 11 a.m.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
North Texas finished its non-conference schedule with a 6-6 record.
North Texas is now 6-3 in the Super Pit.
The Mean Green went with the lineup of Combs, Brice Jr., Holston, Lawson and Reese for the second straight game.
Jeremy Combs was held to season-low six points.
Keith Frazier came off the bench for the second straight game, scoring nine points with three 3-pointers.
A.J. Lawson scored in double-figures for the seventh game this season with a team-leading 12 points.
In his third game of the season, Ryan Woolridge scored 10 points and dished out three assists.
The Mean Green bench outscored San Diego's reserves, 32-3. San Diego played just two players from off the bench.