Men’s basketball overwhelmed in road loss to Nebraska

Men’s basketball overwhelmed in road loss to Nebraska

Men’s basketball overwhelmed in road loss to Nebraska
November 13
23:19 2017

Before the Mean Green could even react, the game was seemingly over.

In front of an announced attendance of 15,059, North Texas found itself down 25-2 eight minutes into Monday night’s game against the University of Nebraska.

The hole was too large to overcome as the Cornhuskers defeated North Texas 86-67 in Lincoln.

“You’re playing a Big 10 team on the road and we definitely tried to make some big plays early in the game individually,” head coach Grant McCasland said. “You try to warn them against it but the lack of experience really hurt us early today.”

The Mean Green actually outscored Nebraska 65-61 for the remaining 32 minutes of the game, but the tone had already been set. North Texas’ offense could not string together buckets when Nebraska went cold.

A stark contrast from the opener for North Texas, besides the quality of its opponent, was the team’s transition opportunities. The Mean Green only managed two fast-break points and converted just eight points off turnovers.

A lot of that had to do with the sheer size of Nebraska, which only had one starter under 6’5.

“They offensive rebounded very well, so there weren’t many chances for fast breaks,” sophomore guard DJ Draper said. “Every miss they pretty much got, so we have to work on that as a team.”

North Texas shot under 40 percent from the field, with Draper and senior forward Shane Temara fishing as the only two double-digit scorers to shoot over 50 percent.

Temara put up 16 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes on 7-of-10 shooting. Draper, meanwhile, scored more points than he did all of last season (9), with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range.

“I was just looking for my shot and being aggressive,” Draper said. “Making sure to bring my role to the table when I got put in.”

The Cornhuskers’ size presented North Texas problems on several fronts. First, they outrebounded the Mean Green 47-39 and had 24 second chance points.

Additionally, their size forced North Texas to foul either by swiping for the ball or on the shot. The Mean Green had three players foul out and three players come one away from doing the same.

“Physically they drove it at us,” McCasland said. “The game is fast and physical early and [we] were trying to adjust to it, for one. And two, once they got that big of a lead you feel like you have to try to make plays to try to get back into things. But their size was the difference really.”

To counter it, McCasland played a two-big lineup, which he did not show in the home opener.

“I think it went better playing with the bigger dudes because [Nebraska] was bigger,” Temara said. “So we could matchup, get more rebounds and we weren’t getting killed as much on the glass.”

In their first regular-season road game, the young Mean Green team struggled to keep up with a Big 10 school. But it will serve as a learning experience for the team as the season progresses.

“I’m proud of the way they fought back,” McCasland said. “But there’s no way to really recover from that big of a hole against a team that has quality guard play like they do.”

Next up: North Texas hosts Bethune-Cookman University at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Featured Image: Mean Green Guard Roosevelt Smart (3) falls after colliding with Shea Feehan (21) of Eureka College on November 10. UNT beat Eureka 122-65 in the first game of the 2017-2018 season. Madison Gore

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men’s basketball.

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