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DRC/David Minton

Men’s basketball: Mean Green falls to UTA

Profile image for By Brett Vito / Staff Writer
By Brett Vito / Staff Writer
North Texas’ Tony Mitchell drives the ball against UTA on Wednesday.DRC/David Minton
North Texas’ Tony Mitchell drives the ball against UTA on Wednesday.
DRC/David Minton

This time around, it was supposed to be different when North Texas faced Texas-Arlington in their annual grudge match.

This was supposed to be the Mean Green’s chance for revenge after being hammered last season in Arlington before Tony Mitchell became eligible and Chris Jones and Jordan Williams adjusted to playing on the college level.

UNT was pretty close to full strength Wednesday, with all three key players available for a game against the Mavericks at the Super Pit. None of that mattered as the Mavericks rolled to a 72-59 win.

UNT (3-4) made just six shots from the floor in the final 29 minutes, missed all 13 of its 3-point attempts in the second half and shot just 16 percent from the field after halftime.

The loss wasn’t as bad as last year’s 97-64 loss at Texas Hall, but it was tough to take.

“Of course this is disappointing,” forward Roger Franklin said. “This is a team that killed us last year. Now they came to our house and beat us again. They out-toughed us and wanted it more. As a senior and a captain, I’m embarrassed that we couldn’t step up and play better and work harder.”

Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell didn’t start because of a violation of team rules, but that was far from UNT’s biggest problem. The biggest issue was the Mean Green’s offensive struggles.

UNT took a 29-21 lead with 9:06 left in the first half on a Mitchell layup but went cold from that point on.

UTA (3-1) came back to tie the score at 31 at halftime and rolled the rest of the way.

“People are packing it in,” UNT coach Tony Benford said. “We run a motion offense. We are not doing a good job of cutting hard. We are not using a lot of options in our offense right now. We have to do a better job of executing in the half-court.”

Alzee Williams led UNT with 14 points, while Mitchell came off the bench to add 12 points and nine rebounds. Franklin scored 11 points.

Only four other players scored on a night UNT went 4-of-23 from 3-point range.

UTA coasted behind 17 points from Karol Gruszecki and 11 from Greg Gainey.

Benford was quick to give UTA credit but admitted UNT has some issues to work through.

“I’m concerned,” Benford said. “We are not shooting the ball well. We have to do a better job in our offense. People are really packing the lane right now. People don’t think we can make shots.”

UNT is seven games into its season and still looking for rhythm.

“We need to get used to the offense and execute in the half-court,” Williams said. “Last year we were in more of a system. We have more freedom now. We are getting used to it.”



UTA 72, UNT 59

TEXAS-ARLINGTON (3-1) — Butler 1-3 3-5 5, Gruszecki 6-10 2-3 17, Edwards 2-5 2-2 6, Reves 2-5 3-6 7, White-Miller 1-6 1-2 4, Davis 0-0 0-0 0, Outler 4-9 0-0 9, Charles 2-4 3-4 7, EcElvain 0-0 0-0 0, Gainey 4-8 3-5 11, Catlett 1-1 2-2 4, Rodgers 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-52 19-29 72.

NORTH TEXAS (3-4) — Holmen 2-8 0-0 6, Franklin 4-6 2-5 11, A. Williams 4-9 5-8 14, Jones 2-10 3-4 7, J. Williams 2-9 3-4 7, Hardwick 0-0 0-0 0, Patton 1-1 0-0 2, Mitchell 3-13 6-6 12, Overlander 0-1 0-0 0, Stojiljkovic 0-1 0-1 0, Coleman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-58 19-28 59.

Halftime — Tied, 31-31. 3-point goals — UTA 5-9 (Gruszecki 3-5, White-Miller 1-2, Outler 1-2), UNT 4-23 (Holmen 2-7, Franklin 1-1, A. Williams 1-2, Jones 0-1, J. Williams 0-4, Mitchell 0-6, Overlander 0-1, Stojiljkovic 0-1). Fouled out — Franklin. Rebounds — UTA 43 (Reves 13), UNT 36 (Mitchell, Franklin 9). Assists — UTA 12 (Catlett 4), UNT 7 (Jones 5). Total fouls — UTA 23, UNT 23. A — 4,832.