Recap: Men’s basketball fall to Rhode Island in first game of Jamaica Classic

Article Originally Published by Joshua Paveglio on North Texas Daily

Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily

The North Texas men’s basketball team (2-4) traveled to Jamaica on Friday, Nov. 22 to play in their first game in the  Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic. The Mean Green fell to the University of Rhode Island (4-1) by a score of 60-47. They lost the rebounding battle in their first game all season against the Rams with a rebound count of 39-33, turnovers plagued the Mean Green once more as they coughed it up 15 times.

“Unfortunately, we turned the ball over in some key moments,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “Give [the Rams] credit but, we helped them out. Our team is young, and we’ve got to do a better job of helping them.”

While North Texas lost the battle on the boards, graduate senior forward Deng Geu went for a career-high 13 boards to go along with eight points on 50 percent shooting. So far through the 2019 campaign Geu has averaged eight points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game.

“[Geu] was really good on the glass,” McCasland said. “He’s a guy we’re going to need down the line.”

The Rams jumped out to an early lead, however, a 13-2 run by the Mean Green in the ladder half of the first period would bring them within three to conclude the half.

“In the first half I feel like we at least showed some composure,” McCasland said. “The second half got a little long for us.”

North Texas lost whatever chance they had in the second half after the Rams junior guard Fatts Russell went for 17 points on 5-for-11 shooting to go along with making 5-for-6 from the penalty stripe in the second half.

“We had some good moments,” McCasland said. “But, give Russell credit, that’s what it looks like when a player takes the game over. He’s a winner, he’s a competitor and he’s a good guy to go up against.”

Mean Green redshirt sophomore Umoja Gibson led the Mean Green in scoring in his second consecutive, 20-point game. Gibson shot 7-for-16 from the field and 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.

Junior starting point guard Javion Hamlet struggled after going 2-for-12 from the field for nine points. The transfer guard also had five turnovers on the day bringing his team-leading average to 4.8 per game.

“It was a good learning experience,” McCasland said. “We prefer to learn and win pretty quickly though.”

North Texas makes a quick turn around to take on No. 15 Utah State on Sunday to continue the Jersey Mikes Jamaica Classic.

“Hopefully we can learn from this first game,” McCasland said. “We’re going to have to play well Sunday—Utah State is a good team.”

Featured Image: Redshirt sophomore guard Umoja Gibson dribbles down the lane past a North Carolina A&T defender on Nov. 19, 2019. Image by Zach Thomas

Source: North Texas Daily