North Texas captured its second win 90-78 at home last night over Bethune Cookman.
- North Texas had a couple of runs that led to the difference in this game. The 19-3 run in the second half set the tone for the rest of the game. What led to those runs? Well it was good defense and the fast break. NT’s transition game was dominant last night.
- Getting AJ Lawson off to a good start was important. Especially when NT was without Umoja Gibson. Lawson had a beautiful spin move for a lay-up early in the game, and after that he was comfortable. Lawson was hitting mid-range shots, and even hit 2 3’s. If Lawson is hitting 3’s the opponent is in trouble. One thing I wish Lawson had or would show is playing with his back to the basket. I’d like to see the Mean Green post him up once in awhile.
- Mentioned it in the preview, but I wanted to see the big men for NT get involved on the perimeter pick-n-roll game. They did and it got Woolridge & Lawson some open looks at the basket. The one thing that needs improvement is the use of those screens by the ball handlers. Too many times I saw the dribbler not use the screen or use it improperly. It will come in time, its all about getting use to playing with each other.
- In his Late night hoops rewind Bret Vito has this beauty of a quote from Coach McCasland –
“It’s going to take some time to figure it out. I can’t tell you one part of our team that is not going to take some time to figure out to be honest. Everyone is so new and is playing so hard. I don’t know if we know exactly what we are doing half the time, but it’s not for a lack of effort.”
Basically what coach is saying is that we might lose some games early because we don’t know what we are doing in this offense yet. But we are going to be tough to scout later on in the season. Trust me as a disciple of the motion offense its really hard to throw 7 new guys out there and expect them to play well together. Its going to take time, but these guys are getting better.
- One thing that helps when your offense is struggling in the half court is getting offense through defense. North Texas did that last night vs Bethune Cookman. The fast break offense was on point. 11 points off of turnovers, 17 points off the fast break.
- North Texas was out rebounded 45-43. Which is a bit concerning. Bethune Cookman was not a great rebounding team. UT Rio Grande Valley out rebounded Cookman 48-36. Simmons and Temara came up with 7 boards combined. That’s not good. However not all bad news here, Lawson, Smart, and Holston combined for 19 boards. Coach GMac has to be happy with the rebounding effort from his guards, but not happy overall with the team rebounding effort.
- Michael Miller got his first playing time last night, and he provided a nice lift off the bench. Miller was active on the boards and he made a couple of really nice passes. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but got to the line.
- The whole team did a great job of attacking the rim (40 points in the paint). Ryan Woolridge, looked unstoppable at times. Lawson had a couple of nice finishes. Smart wasn’t getting a lot of open looks from the outside, but his aggressive game led to 13 free throws. Good scorers find ways to score even when they aren’t getting open looks. Last night Smart did his damage from the free throw line.
- Other than the Tabb flops NT was able to keep Cookman off the free throw line (23 attempts). It was a good sign, because Cookman really tried to get to the rim. If North Texas can be aggressive on defense, but not foul they will be hard to score on. Right now their effective fg defense is 4th best in CUSA. NT has done a really good job in my opinion with initial defense and defending the 3. Teams aren’t getting as many open looks against this team as they did in years past. The lapses are coming from over aggressiveness and 2nd chance points. NT has given up 39 2nd chance points and 48 points from the FT line over the last two games. That is more than half of the total number of points that the Mean Green have given up against D1 competition.
- The player of the game was Roosevelt Smart. Smart was aggressive getting to the free throw line, but he also nabbed 7 boards. On top of his offensive performance Smart led the team in steals with 3.
In the Bonus – UT Rio Grande Valley is a good measuring point for the North Texas program early in the year. In the season preview I marked this game as a “Winner”, but now I’d probably view it as a toss-up. All I’m looking for is W. Style points don’t matter this early in the year for a program like North Texas. Its all about getting better and building confidence for the upcoming conference games.
|Shane Temara||B –|
|Roosevelt Smart||A –|
|Ryan Woolridge||B –|
|Michael Miller||B +|
|AJ Lawson||B +|
Players with 10 minutes + get graded.
Next up for North Texas is UT Rio Grande Valley on Monday, November 20th in Denton.