Article Originally Published by Preston Rios on North Texas Daily
With the Mean Green having clinched the Conference USA title in a win over Western Kentucky (19-10, 12-5) Sunday, March 1, North Texas (20-11, 14-4) scored their fewest amount of points all season in a 56-43 loss to Charlotte (16-12, 10-7 C-USA). Wednesday night’s matchup included a defensive effort on both sides where the two teams combined for 27 turnovers, 14 steals and 11 blocks.
“Give a ton of credit to Charlotte,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “They were the aggressive one. [Their defense] definitely was one of the best we’ve seen all year. They looked like a team with a lot to play for.”
The first 10 minutes of the first half resulted in a 19-17 score with the Mean Green on top. Over the next three minutes, both teams were held scoreless until a layup by Charlotte’s Milos Supica tied the game up at 19-all.
Senior forward Deng Geu made a layup with 1:54 remaining in the half for North Texas on a layup to cut the deficit to one against the 49ers. A successful 3-point attempt by Jahmir Young put Charlotte up at the half 27-23.
Through the first half, junior guard Javion Hamlet led North Texas with six points and shooting 100 percent (3-for-3) from the floor.
Young led the 49ers offensively in the first half with 10 points scored, shooting at 75 percent (3-4 FG).
The Mean Green through the first half was held to overall shooting at 37.5 percent and 20 percent from beyond the arc.
Sophomore guard Umoja Gibson opened North Texas’ first points of the second half with a 3-pointer to cut the 49ers lead to one point. Charlotte responded over the next five minutes by scoring eight unanswered points to go ahead 35-26 at 15:14.
Down 10 points, Hamlet added a 3-pointer at 13:30 in the to pull within seven points of Charlotte. The middle portion of the second half resulted in exchanging of points on two-point plays via jumpers and layups by both teams in which the 49ers held their largest lead at 5:53 ahead by 11 points.
North Texas scored four unanswered points with 5:09 remaining on a James Reese dunk and two consecutive free throws made by Hamlet to trail 50-43, where the Mean Green for the rest of the game was held scoreless.
Coming into Wednesday’s game, North Texas led C-USA in over field-goal percentage shooting and 3-point percentage shooting. The Mean Green were held to 31.3 percent (15-for-48) in field goal attempts, including 21.1 percent (4-for-19) shooting in 3-point attempts.
Defensively North Texas held the opposition to under 30 points in both halves, which is their second time accomplishing during C-USA play. Geu led North Texas in rebounds with nine, including three blocks on the night.
Jordan Shepherd led Charlotte offensively in the win with 18 points, three assists and tying for a team lead with five rebounds.
Hamlet led the Mean Green in scoring on the night with 16 points and junior forward Zachary Simmons had a team-high four assists.
UP NEXT: North Texas begins C-USA tournament play in Frisco, Texas, as the No. 1 seed starting Wednesday, March 11.
Featured Image: Redshirt junior guard Javion Hamlet prepares to go up for a layup against Western Kentucky on Mar. 1, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas
Source: North Texas Daily