Hilltoppers Hold Off Mean Green Rally
BOWLING GREEN, Ky, - Western Kentucky held off multiple North Texas men's basketball rallies to hang on for a 70-64 win at E.A. Diddle Arena. After trailing by as many as 15 points and 11 at the half, the Mean Green put on a furious rally in the second half but were unable to complete the comeback.
"We are disappointed in the loss but I thought we had some positives," said head coach Tony Benford. "We battled back and changed our defense in the second half but we just didn't make enough baskets when we needed them."
Down 37-26 at the break, North Texas (5-8, 0-2) opened the second half with a 20-9 run and tied the game at 46-46 with 12:25 left. The Mean Green took their first lead in the second half at 49-48 on a Clarke Overlander 3-pointer.
The Hilltoppers (10-5, 4-0) answered back with an 8-2 run fueled by George Fant who scored four straight points and capped the run with an emphatic dunk to make it 56-51 WKU.
North Texas refused to go away as they cut the WKU lead back to one at 58-57 with seven minutes remaining. The Hilltoppers went back up by five points at 62-57 with two minutes to play, but Jordan Williams, who ended the game with a game-high 18 points, knocked down a 3-pointer to cut the lead to just two at 62-60 with 1:22 left.
WKU however answered back and ultimately iced the game with six straight free throws from Percy Blade. Tony Mitchell hit a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left to make it 66-63, but Blade put the game away for good with two more free throws.
Western Kentucky came out red-hot from behind the arc, hitting five 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game to open up a 15-7 lead. The Hilltoppers pushed the lead to double figures at 25-15 on a 3-point play from George Fant with nine minutes left in the half. WKU finished the half with seven 3-pointer and took a 37-26 lead into the break.
North Texas is back in action for a New Year's Eve showdown at Middle Tennessee at 7 p.m. from the Murphy Center.