The North Texas men’s basketball team (13-8, 7-1 Conference USA) extended their winning streak to seven games after downing Texas-San Antonio (9-11, 3-4 C-USA) by a score of 98-78. It was a battle of the backcourts as redshirt sophomore Umoja Gibson and junior transfer-student Javion Hamlet clashed with Texas-San Antonio’s guards in Jhivvan Jackson and Keaton Wallace.
The guard duo with Gibson and Hamlet scored a combined 49 points compared to Jackon and Wallace’s 61.
“[Jackson and Wallace] are so hard to guard,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “They have such dynamic players and it’s like I just told our guys in the locker room, it’s just 40 minutes.”
The Mean Green came out firing, shooting 10-of-11 to begin the game giving them a 13-point advantage with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. The Mean Green didn’t look back until the half was wrapped up and they led the Roadrunners 50-36.
“That run definitely helped us out to start [the game],” Hamlet said. “We just executed our game plan and it worked.”
The Roadrunners found answers in the second half which cut their deficit to 10 with 16 minutes of basketball to play.
“We knew they were going to make a run,” Gibson said. “We just had to stay solid and make it tough on them. Basketball is a game of runs and that’s what we’re trying to do all night long is make it tough for them.”
Both teams shot efficiently, North Texas shot 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep while the Roadrunners shot 47 percent and 45 percent from downtown.
“They got a lot of easy ones,” McCasland said. “Our defense wasn’t great tonight. But, we were able to slow them down in transition and wear them down and gain some separation.”
The Mean Green eventually brought the lead back to 10 with about six minutes remaining and ran away with the game from that point on. Junior guard James Reese also put in 18 points and four 3-pointers while junior forward Zachary Simmons tallied 12 points.
The win continues the Mean Green’s streak of success as they entered this game coming off another 20-point victory but against Rice (9-12, 1-7 C-USA).
UP NEXT: North Texas will take on UTEP (12-8, 3-4 C-USA) in Denton, Texas at the Super Pit on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 5 p.m.
Featured Image: Redshirt sophomore Umoja Gibson drives past Texas San-Antonio defender on Jan. 23, 2020. Image by Zachary Thomas