The North Texas men’s basketball team (1-1) took nationally ranked No. 25 Virginia Commonwealth (2-0) to the final shot, but fell 59-56. The Rams held a slight lead throughout the game but the Mean Green continued to stay within striking distance the entire second half.
Head coach Grant McCasland was disappointed as the Mean Green were not able to get the win against Virginia Commonwealth after jumping out to a lead.
“[Virginia Commonwealth] is doing a fantastic job with this program,” McCasland said. “We felt like we wanted to get out of here, but we gave ourselves a chance. [I’m] proud of our guys, we were extremely disappointed we couldn’t win. Our guys did a great job in the second half and I did a very bad job in that first half during that run.”
The Mean Green started the game off leading the Rams by a score of 19-11 with about half the first period remaining. Virginia Commonwealth would end the first half up by 10.
Senior guard DJ Draper led the Mean Green in scoring with 12 points off the bench, all of which were 3-pointers and shot 4-for-7 from deep to go along with three rebounds.
The Mean Green attempted at making a comeback run in the second half but fell short even though they outscored the Rams 35-28 in the second period.
“The second half was really the difference in the game,” McCasland said. “[We] did a good job in the paint and rebounding, but not good enough, so credit to [Virginia Commonwealth].”
McCasland has no doubts about his team, however, and believes they will respond in an effective way from the loss.
“We’ve got a group that loves basketball and loves playing with each other,” McCasland said. “For this team, we know they will respond to these adversities. I know that the locker room is disappointed.”
North Texas (1-1) will move on to take on Arkansas to continue their preseason action on Nov. 12 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Featured Image: Redshirt freshman DJ Draper runs drills during practice on Oct. 11, 2019. Image by Will Baldwin