North Texas got a much needed win. The Mean Green took down FAU 59-53.
- It was never pretty in this game. It was down right ugly basketball for most of the night, by both teams. Credit North Texas for finding a way to win without a serious contribution from Roosevelt Smart. Smart was saddled with 3 fouls early in the 1st half, and then picked up his 4th foul early in the second. Some how UNT found enough ways to score more than FAU.
- From the get go Ryan Woolridge was more assertive on the offensive end. He needs to do that from here on out. He needs to be the second leading scorer for North Texas on most every night.
- AJ Lawson provided some offense that I was not expecting. Lawson even hit a 3. I don’t encourage him shooting 3’s, but his offensive output was necessary with Smart being in foul trouble. North Texas had to get it from some where. Lawson got to the basket, and was able to finish on numerous occasions. Good for him.
- Where has Shane Temara gone? He is a SR leader on this team, and NT needs him to step his game up. 18 minutes 0-11, 1 reb, 1 block. That isn’t going to cut it. If NT is going to have any chance at all of making some noise in Frisco they need their SR to play like one.
- Zach Simmons and Tope Arkiawe are two nice players. Simmons has played well for a FR. He has had his moment on defense where you can tell he is FR. But he has also had key plays in a lot of UNT victories. Tope has really stepped up his game in conference play. His play off the bench has been very important.
- North Texas had 16 offensive boards against FAU. Pretty great effort against a team that way a very good defensive rebounding team. Now the down fall is that NT was only able to turn that in 13 second chance points. North Texas is 4th in conference play with 11.4 offensive rebounds per game. Rebounding as a whole has been a pleasant surprise for NT this year. I think many believed that a guard heavy lineup would struggle to rebound. Woolridge, Smart, Holston, Lawson have all chipped in. Those 4 combined for 22 of the 43 rebounds against FAU. In conference play they are accounting for 46% of the rebounds.
- North Texas continues to struggle around the basket. I stopped counting how many bunnies the Mean Green failed to convert last night. I really hope that’s a point of emphasis in practice. NT left at least another 10 points out there because they couldn’t finish.
- 70%. North Texas hit the sweet spot I set for them. 70 % from the free throw line was a welcome sight. The last time UNT shot 70% and above was against Rice, which happened to be the last time they won. North Texas has only shot around 70% 3 times in conference play. All 3 have been wins.
- I think it was some sort of blessing in disguise that Smart had to sit for most of this game. As of coach you never want your best offensive weapon to be on the bench, but it forced this young NT team to focus on offensive execution. A guy like Smart can bail out a bad possession with a deep 3 or a drive to the basket. Last night NT had to find ways to score with out Smart. Guys like Lawson were able to step up to fill the void.
- FAU is going to look back on this game and slap themselves in the face. FAU had every opportunity to take it. It seemed like North Texas was trying to give the game away at times. FAU failed to take advantage of Smart being in foul trouble. Instead of going to a zone and packing it in they stayed in man and let Woolridge and Lawson get to the basket. Then late in the game they fouled Smart when he wasn’t going to get it across halfcourt in time. The little things matter in all games. They really stand out in close games. NT will take a W no matter how it looks.
|Roosevelt Smart||C –|
|Ryan Woolridge||B +|
|DJ Draper||C +|
|AJ Lawson||B +|
|Allante Holston||C –|
|Tope Arikawe||C +|
Players with 10 minutes + get graded.
Next up for North Texas is FIUon Saturday, January 27th in Denton.