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Men’s basketball team loses to UTA for second straight year
Tyler Owens / Senior Staff Writer
Though the Mean Green and the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks play in separate conferences, there was the feeling of a heated rivalry in the Super Pit on Wednesday night, where the Mean Green fell 72-59.
While the loss is not as severe as last year’s 97-64 trouncing at the hands of UTA, this game is a tough one to swallow for the team.
“As a senior and as a captain, I’m a little bit embarrassed that we couldn’t outplay them and we couldn’t work harder than them,” senior guard Roger Franklin said.
In the first half, solid UTA defense forced the Mean Green (3-4) to take shots from the perimeter, and UNT went on a seven minute scoring drought.
Sophomore forward Tony Mitchell did not start due to what head coach Tony Benford called a slip-up of team policy and played only eight minutes in the first half because of early foul trouble.
When he was on the court in the first half, he was stifled on offense by 6-feet-10-inches UTA senior forward Jordan Reeves. Mitchell played all 20 minutes of the second half, but notched only 12 points for the game.
Like Reeves’ defense on Mitchell, the Mavericks defense did not let up in the second half. The Mean Green only shot 16.1 percent and failed to make a three-pointer in 13 attempts in the half.
“I’m concerned. We aren’t shooting the ball well,” Benford said. “I don’t care what offense you run, you’ve got to make shots, and we’ve talked about that. We’ve got to do a better job of executing. We’ve got a lot of options in our offense, so we’ve got to do a better job of going through some of our other options offensively.”
Junior guard Alzee Williams said that the team is still trying to adapt to the new offensive system put in place by Benford, who has only coached seven games with the team.
“I think last year we were in more of a system,” Williams said. “I think coach is trying to give us a little more freedom, but we’re getting used to it right now, that’s all.”
UNT will begin conference play on Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.
“I know it seems like there’s a lot of negativity on this team, but we will bounce back,” Franklin said. “We will be okay. We still believe in this coaching staff, and we have faith in each other, and I believe that we can still get the job done.”