UNDATED (KNTU) North Texas men’s basketball was unable to earn their first win of Conference-USA play versus Middle Tennessee State, falling 79-68 at home on Saturday, Jan. 7.
This is the first year the Mean Green (6-10) have started 0-4 in conference play since Tony Benford became head coach in 2012. The team is now on a five-game losing streak.
North Texas held a lead as big as five points early in the game, but headed into halftime down double-digits, 37-27. Middle Tennessee (13-3) got off to a slow start but excelled in two areas, taking a 18-6 advantage in points in the paint and a 12-2 advantage in second-chance points.
The second half wasn’t much better for the Mean Green. They fell behind by as many as 22 points, but cut that deficit in half before the final buzzer.
Sophomore guard Ja’Michael Brown led the way on offense with 21 points, tying his career-high. Freshman guard AJ Lawson also added 14 points on a perfect 5-5 from the field and 2-2 from the free throw line.
Senior guards Deckie Johnson and Keith Frazier were both sidelined for the second consecutive game due to injury. Jeremy Combs suited up and put up 10 points and six rebounds despite ankle issues.
Without two of their best threats from deep, North Texas still shot it well. They went 8-for-14 on threes, while Middle Tennessee went just 7-for-20.
The Blue Raiders’ balanced attack was ultimately too much to overcome for the Mean Green. Three of their players scored double-digit points, led by 18 from junior guard Giddy Potts.
Next up for North Texas is a three-game road trip, which begins Saturday, Jan. 14, against Rice. Tipoff is at 2:00 p.m.