DENTON (2/3/07) The North Texas men’s basketball team won its 10th straight home game with a 74-70 victory against Western Kentucky on Saturday night at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green (16-7, 7-5) has the fifth-longest home winning streak in school history and has won both games against Western Kentucky (17-8, 7-5) this season. The Hilltoppers still lead in the series, 7-2.
"I thought this was a great college basketball game tonight against a very talented Western Kentucky team," said head coach Johnny Jones. "Western has been the model of the league for a long time. Our guys played hard and remained focused. We played well under the circumstances. We knew they would make a run and fight back to get into the game. I commend our guys for their effort. We will savor this win tonight, but we know we have to go back to work for a very good New Orleans team coming in here Thursday night."
North Texas’ hot scoring continued for the second straight game, leading by as many as 21 points in the second half of tonight’s match-up with Western Kentucky. With 9:25 left in the game, the Mean Green’s shooting went cold. NT did not hit a field goal for more than eight minutes. Kendrick Davis hit two key jumpers, and Rich Young made three free throws and pulled down two defensive rebounds to hold onto the victory.
Down 18 points, WKU went on a 28-9 run midway through the second half to take its first lead, 70-69, since the first half. A.J. Slaughter hit a free throw to put WKU ahead with 35 seconds left. Davis hit a baseline jumper on NT’s next possession to put the Mean Green back ahead, 71-70, with 22 seconds to play.
Young pulled down a key rebound and was then fouled after the Hilltoppers could not convert on their ensuing possession. The senior made only one-of-two free throws but pulled down another defensive board the other end of the court. He was fouled again and both free throws with one second left on the clock to seal the win.
Young finished with seven points, including four from the free throw line. Davis led three players in double figures with 16 points. Michael Sturns came off the bench to score 10 and Quincy Williams recorded his fifth career double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
North Texas shot 50 percent from the field for the game, hitting 13-of-25 field goals in the first half. Western Kentucky made only 10-of-29 field goals in the first period.
After exchanging leads in the opening minutes, junior Keith Wooden started a 21-7 run with a three-point play after being fouled going to the basket. His tip-in broke a 13-13 tie and gave North Texas a lead that it would not relinquish until the final minutes of the game. Sturns capped the run with two free throws to put NT ahead, 34-20, with 2:42 until half.
North Texas extended its lead to as many as 21 points, 58-37, after a three-pointer by Davis at 10:53. After a basket by Justin Howerton, the Mean Green would only make free throws over the next eight minutes. Davis broke the cold spell with a jumper, 69-67, that broke WKU’s first tie since it was 13-13 in the first half.
North Texas returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 8 when it faces New Orleans at 7 pm in the Super Pit.