Sometime after the game the players leave their locker room and don athleisure wear and meander out of the locker room. The crowd of an announced 2600+ that was just loudly cheering for or against the comeback was now quiet, talking about free Whataburger.
It was a bit of a strange scene. North Texas had comeback from down as many as 9 points against a scruffy UTSA squad in the Convocation Center. North Texas held Jhivvan Jackson to 0-7 on his first attempts until he got unglued and came alive late. In fact both Jackson and Keaton Wallace were held to a combined 8-28 shooting.
The Mean Green had struggles from deep early. Umoja Gibson went 1-9 from deep, and NT went 8-29 from distance themselves.
North Texas was outplayed through the first 2/3rds of the game because of turnovers, missed shots, and fouls. It looked to us — the green side — like the refs were a little near-sighted but these are the breaks of playing in CUSA and playing on the road in general.
When the lead was big and time was short, North Texas played with aggression. Woolridge and Jordan Duffy were attacking the bucket and getting layups, and occasionally drawing fouls. The defense was holding UTSA to one shot and pushing the ball with purpose.
Oh and Roosevelt Smart starting hitting jumpers. He finished with five threes and led the balanced NT attack with 18. None were bigger than the two buckets to tie the game at 71 and the one to tie it at 74. Mixed in there were some Jhivvan Jackson layups as he got unstuck.
North Texas forced a Jackson miss but couldn’t get the ball — only the fifth offensive rebound for UTSA — and then Jackson got a miracle falling-away shot off with 3 ticks left that dropped. A full-court, Laettner shot from Zachary Simmons went wide and that was that.
NT’s comeback fell short by two.
- The crowd was a nice shade of green. I cannot say how many exactly there were, but it was a solid crowd. At least four of the sixteen rows of section 101 were 90% NT fans. MGN brought seven people. There were green-clad fans throughout the gym.
- North Texas plays much better when they play with purpose.
- At least one timeout-crowd gag was a dude. The “smile-cam” saw no one smile. The PA announcer seemed pretty disappointed.
- MGN tried the North/Texas chant twice. We had little participation that I could hear. The sound is weird in that gym so that may be just me.