Men's basketball: Vaughns’ 23 points help lead UNT in win

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Tony Benford promised a better effort on Monday night, when North Texas played its second exhibition in his second season as the Mean Green’s head coach.

Vertrail Vaughns made sure UNT delivered.

The George Mason transfer scored 23 points to spark the Mean Green in a dominating 97-65 win over Southeastern Oklahoma at the Super Pit.

Vaughns led six players in double figures for UNT, which looked like a completely different team than it did just three days ago in a surprisingly tight 78-70 win over Oklahoma City in the Mean Green’s exhibition opener.

UNT will open the season on Friday at home against Northwood.

“We came out and played with a purpose,” Benford said. “We didn’t play well defensively the other night and came out with a focus on the defensive end. We got stops.”

Those stops led to transition baskets for the Mean Green. Vaughns often received the last pass on the break and scored on a night in which he went 9-for-12 from the field.

“In practice, coach is always telling us to make the extra pass,” Vaughns said. “My teammates found me and I was able to score. We were a little lackadaisical the first game. This game we wanted to be more up-tempo and that is what we did.”

UNT ended up shooting 55.2 percent (37-for-67) from the floor.

Jordan Williams scored 16 points for UNT, while Chris Jones added 15. Keith Colman posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Alzee Williams (12 points) and Armani Flannigan (10 points) rounded out UNT’s list of double-figure scorers for UNT, which blew the game open with a 16-0 run in the first half.

Jones scored eight points during the run and finished with three steals in the first half, when UNT forced 17 turnovers.

UNT was up 59-25 at halftime behind 16 points from Vaughns.

“Vertrail has been in the gym and has been doing a good job of letting shots come to him,” Benford said.

“He can put up numbers in a hurry.”

UNT believes that will be true for its team as a whole as it adjusts to a new lineup. UNT has several key players who sat out last year, including guards Brandan Walton and T.J. Taylor, and still has some uncertainty about its lineup for this season.

Benford said after the game that freshman Greg Wesley is still sorting through eligibility issues with the NCAA. Taylor didn’t play due to a groin injury.

Despite those issues, UNT showed dramatic improvement over its performance in its exhibition opener.

“We prepared better in practice,” Jordan Williams said. “We came in focused. There was a better vibe today.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito.

 

North Texas 97, Southeastern Oklahoma 65

SOUTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA — King 3-13 0-3 6, Harris 6-9 3-3 15, Peters 1-6 0-0 3, Smaller 5-10 0-0 12, Taniguchi 3-6 0-0 8, Threadgill 1-5 8-13 10, Cook 0-1 1-2 1, Carroll 1-1 0-0 2, Jackson 3-5 1-2 7, Fagundes 0-1 1-2 1, Lonzie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-57 14-25 65.

NORTH TEXAS — Flannigan 5-6 0-6 10, Coleman 5-11 4-5 14, Vaughns 9-12 2-2 23, Walton 3-8 0-0 7, A. Williams 4-10 4-5 12, Aniefiok 0-2 0-0 0, J. Williams 4-10 7-7 16, Jones 7-8 1-1 15. Totals 37-67 18-27 97.

Halftime — UNT 59-25. 3-point goals — Southeastern 5-17 (Peters 1-5, Smaller 2-4, Taniguchi 2-5, Threadgill 0-2, Cook 0-1), UNT 5-12 (Vaughns 3-5, Walton 1-4, J. Williams 1-3). Fouled out — Taniguchi, Coleman, Aniefiok. Rebounds — Southeastern 44 (King 10), UNT 34 (Coleman 13). Assists — Southeastern 9 (Threadgill 6), UNT 15 (Jones 6). Total fouls — Southeastern 20, UNT 24. Technical fouls — Taniguchi. A — 1,665.


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