HOUSTON — North Texas rallied from as much as 15 points down at Houston to pull within two late, but the rally fell short and the Cougars held on for a 66-61 victory Wednesday night.
The Mean Green was down 53-38 with seven minutes left before a 14-1 run cut the lead to 54-52. But UNT went cold in the final minute and couldn’t complete the comeback.
“We came out in the second half and played pretty hard and played with pretty good purpose,” UNT head coach Mike Petersen said. “We lost a game where we didn’t compete in the first half or have any discipline with the ball.”
The Mean Green came out with some rust following a nine-day break since its loss to Texas A&M. The Cougars got into the paint and did damage early, earning 18 free throws to the Mean Green’s one.
Houston also held an advantage in the turnover department with nine to UNT’s 15, and finished up the half with a 32-20 lead.
Briesha Wynn led UNT with 14 points, while Desiree Nelson had 11 and Alexis Hyder added 10. Acheil Tac had a game-high 14 rebounds, while Wynn grabbed 12.
Out of the break, North Texas found its rhythm. With seven minutes remaining, the Mean Green went on a 14-1 run, cutting the Cougar lead to 54-52.
In the final minute, the North Texas offense went cold. The Mean Green outscored Houston 41-34 in a much more competitive second half.
It is a quick turnaround for North Texas as it hosts the Hospitality Hill Challenge beginning Saturday against Abilene Christian at 7:30 p.m.