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Mean Green snaps streak in victory over FIU
Ryne Gannoe / Senior Staff Writer
The Mean Green men’s basketball team halted a five-game losing streak with a 77-67 win over Florida International on Saturday.
UNT made 75 percent of its shots from the field, including 17 of its first 19 attempts and all nine of its first free throw attempts.
The Mean Green’s 75 percent field goal accuracy is a school record, breaking the previous record of 67 percent in 1995. The team averages 41 percent from the field this season.
Head coach Tony Benford said he’s never been a part of a team shooting that well.
“As far as our execution in our half court [offense], we didn’t settle,” Benford said. “The theme tonight was getting paint touches. We kept, even against that zone, getting the ball into the paint, we were aggressive and we finished plays.”
The win over FIU (8-7, 13-11) evens out the season series 1-1.
Senior forward Roger Franklin led the scoring for the UNT with 21 points. Junior guards Alzee Williams and Jordan Williams each had 15 and three other players added eight or more points.
Besides good shooting, UNT (9-17, 4-11) also shared the ball. Seven players contributed to 13 team assists. The Mean Green hasn’t assisted in double figures since its losing streak began.
Alzee Williams said the unselfish play is what broke the losing streak.
“I think we all just shared the ball,” he said. “We all pitched in. I think that’s what got us over the hump.”
Franklin said the team has been focused on closing out games.
“We haven’t been finishing a lot of games,” Franklin said. “Arkansas State, we had that lead and we couldn’t finish that game. Arkansas Little-Rock, we were battling with them and couldn’t finish off game. This whole entire season is about finishing, it’s the last part of the season and we’re just trying to finish up strong.”
Benford said the team is playing to win every game, but what really matters is the momentum going into the conference tournament.
“The team that’s playing well at the end of the month is going to be the team that has the chance to win the conference tournament, and we want to be that team,” Benford said.
UNT plays the University of Louisiana-Monroe Thursday at 7 p.m. on the road. The previous meeting ended in a 81-68 win for the Warhawks.