North Texas’ men’s basketball team (3-5) got back on track Monday after making a short road trip to Arlington, Texas in which they took down the University of Texas-Arlington (4-5) by a score of 77-66. The Mean Green won following a week-long break after dropping both of their games in the Jersey Mike’s Jamaica Classic.
“We played how we wanted to play,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “It was great to see our guys be able to step in there and have so much success.”
It was the 58th meeting between the Dallas-Fort Worth area rivals in which North Texas increased its advantage to 32-26. The Mean Green shot an efficient 50 percent from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc. They finished with better percentages than the Mavericks who shot 42 percent from the field and 36 percent from downtown.
“You could tell our defense was playing a really good team,” McCasland said. “They were able to maintain physicality and we guarded all the way down the stretch.”
The Mean Green got going early on offense in this one after outscoring the Mavericks 35-23 in the first half.
Numerous players for North Texas scored in double digits against the Mavericks including the starting backcourt of redshirt sophomore Umoja Gibson and redshirt junior guard Javion Hamlet. They both led the game in scoring with 18 each, combining to shoot 50 percent from the field and from beyond the arc as a pair.
“Give [Hamlet] and [Gibson] credit,” McCasland said. “They really got loose and put the pressure on them.”
The frontcourt pairing of graduate senior forward Deng Geu and junior forward Zachary Simmons had a productive outing after scoring 10 and 12 points to go along with eight and ten rebounds, respectively.
“Give [Simmons] a lot of credit as well,” McCasland said. “He had to guard a lot of perimeter players and anchor us down in the paint and maintain the ability to switch on defense.”
The Mavericks made a run in an attempt to make a comeback outscoring the Mean Green 43-42 in the second period. However, the Mean Green was able to hold off on to the lead and ensure their third win on the year. North Texas’ advantage in the turnovers section would also lead to help even though both teams turned the ball over 13 times, the Mean Green scored 17 points off of turnovers compared to the Texas-Arlington’s eight points.
UP NEXT: The Mean Green hopes to carry this momentum into their Thursday night matchup at home against the University of Oklahoma (6-1).
Featured Image: Redshirt junior guard Javion Hamlet looks to pass at the game against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 16, 2019. Image by Jordan Collard