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Dominant Ousmane, Hungry Perry Lean North Texas 64-50 Over Middle Tennessee

It is not secret that stopping North Texas means stopping Tylor Perry, and limiting Abou Ousmane. Opposing coaches say this all the time. The numbers back it up. Perry is the team’s best player, but Ousmane might be the league’s best big man.

The broadcast highlighted Ousmane’s great game often, calling out his ability to bully guys in the paint and finish with simple, strong moves. Being a big man is a thankless task, as finishing on dump offs or rebounding are expected even if it takes skill and effort and tolerance for a level of physicality that the smaller guys do not encounter. Ousmane owned his matchup with Dishman, Middle Tennessee’s seventh-year big man who had a big time March 2022 last year as Middle nearly knocked off UAB. That is to say that Ousmane dominated a very good opponent.

AO: 19 points, 9 rebounds 3 assists on 6/13 shooting 7/8 FT
Dishman: 5 points, 6 rebounds, 4 fouls on 2/6 shooting.

Meanwhile, Tylor Perry was back to his old self. putting up a kenpom 122 offensive rating. He struggled vs Charlotte and we speculated that he would bounce back in this one. We were right even if it wasn’t the usual way. He was only 1/7 from distance, which dropped his average to .429 from .445 from three. He is in a little funk from there, but still managed to score 19 on 14/14 shooting from the line. Scorers score, and TP found a way. Beyond that was his contributions elsewhere: he was active and engaged defensively, getting a four steals, including a couple digs in the paint. He drew fouls, and was looking for his shot.

Beyond the two major contributors, we saw another great all-around game from Rubin Jones, who is finding his comfort from three. He went 1/3, but all were rhythm looks shot with confidence. His ability to find his own shot and create for others is key, and was on display after Kai Huntsberry left with an injured ankle. Jones was the primary ball-handler as Middle tried to press and deny Perry the ball in the early second half. Beyond that, McCasland got good minutes from Scott, Stone, Sissoko and Eady as well. Good defense, aggressive offense, tough rebounding. The minimum is effort, and that was there.

North Texas walked away in this one, holding off a few Middle rallies. Consider that Middle is not amazing but they are good. They are top-four in a good league, and have talent enough to knock off anyone. They do not match up well with NT in part because the styles are so similar and NT simply plays it better. There were times in this game — early, and then in early in the 2nd half — and in the previous matchup where you can see what Middle is trying to do. You can see how dangerous they are when their long-limbed defenders get steals and get out and run. This was a good win.

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