Balanced Scoring Leads North Texas Basketball To Victory
Senior Keith Frazier Led North Texas In Scoring In His Debut
DENTON - The North Texas men's basketball team used an impressive second-half run to defeat Southeastern Louisiana 71-65 on Tuesday night at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green, led by senior guard Keith Frazier's North Texas debut, had three players score double-digit points and improved to 6-5 on the season.
A slow start to the second half doomed North Texas in their last game against Sam Houston State, when the Bearkats used a 15-0 run to eliminate a Mean Green comeback, but it was North Texas' 14-2 run that propelled them to victory against the Lions.
"We need to continue to do a great job defensively and I thought we did," head coach Tony Benford said. "We got stops when we needed them and have a lot of guys that can make plays. It's about playing together and continuing to get better."
Frazier scored 12 points going 5-for-8 from the field in 22 minutes. Junior forward Jeremy Combs poured in 11, sophomore center Ricky Brice Jr. contributed 10 points and went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. The Mean Green also had the edge in paint scoring (26-22), fast-break points (16-4), and bench points (34-12) in the winning effort.
"The bench did a great job and that's one of our strengths," Benford said. "Every night is going to be a different night for a different player, so we need everyone to play hard."
Both North Texas and Southeastern Louisiana looked comfortable on the offensive end of the floor halfway through the first half as 37 points were scored between the two teams.
The highlight of the first half came when freshman guard Ryan Woolridge created a loose ball steal and capitalized with a dazzling reverse layup while avoiding a defender.
Moments later, Frazier scored his first points as a member of the Mean Green, knocking down a three to pull North Texas within one. Frazier's second long ball put North Texas ahead 20-19. Frazier's eight points, combined with Combs' six and freshman guard A.J. Lawson's seven, carried the Mean Green to a 33-31 halftime lead.
Davon Hayes, however, went 6-for-8 in the first half and knocked down three free throws for the Lions. His 17 first-half points helped limit the damage from the North Texas offense. Hayes finished the game with 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting.
"Keith's got a lot of experience and he's a guy that can make shots," Benford added. "He's going to continue to get better. We're going to work him in there slowly, but 20 minutes was good for his first time out."
North Texas concludes the home portion of their non-conference schedule as part of a doubleheader on Thursday, Dec. 22 with the women's team (5 p.m. tip against Texas State). The men play against San Diego at 7:00 p.m. at the Super Pit.
Mean Green Quick Hitters
-Senior guard Keith Frazier made his Mean Green debut at the 13:46 mark of the first half.
-Brice, Jr. and senior guard J-Mychal Reese went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line
-North Texas improved to 5-2 when they hold a halftime lead and shoot 70-79 percent from the free throw line
-Career-high six rebounds for freshman Ryan Woolridge