With a 76-69 win over the University of Texas at El Paso, the Mean Green extended their win streak to four games for the first time since 2013 and the first time in the Jalie Mitchell era.
In the final six minutes, North Texas (10-14, 7-6) clinched the win by clamping down defensively while and not allowing UTEP (6-19, 3-10) to make a single field goal.
“It wasn’t the best [win], it wasn’t the prettiest, but it won’t always be that way – especially on the road,” Mitchell said. “We needed to stop fouling and take care of the ball better, so we talked about those at halftime.”
Behind a 26-point effort in the second quarter – the team’s highest output in the quarter the season – North Texas eclipsed 69 points for the fourth consecutive game. Various players stepped up and helped the Mean Green’s offense excel as the Mean Green also shot 22-of-27 from the free throw line.
Sophomore guard Terriell Bradley had a team-high 18 points on just six shot attempts.
“I think [we are improving] especially with this new lineup,” Bradley said. “I think we have our top five scorers so we’re really unselfish and share the ball and don’t care who gets the shot.”
In a game where the teams combined for 55 fouls, 62 free throws, and fouled out players, there were several stoppages in play due to minuscule contact.
While defending without fouling was difficult for the Mean Green, the free throw disparity and being a plus-18 from the 3-point line were two of the main reasons for their road victory.
“[The officiating] was a little frustrating but it just comes with the game, you have to play through it,” Bradley said. “[Free throws] are crucial, those are free points so we have to knock those down.”
UTEP’s Sparkle Taylor scored 34 for the Miners on 11-of-16 shooting while the Mean Green outrebounded the Miners 37-28.
The win kicks off the Mean Green’s four-game road trip on the right note and adds to the growing confidence the team has gained over the last four games.
“[We need to] just continue what we’re doing,” Bradley said. “Getting stops, sharing the ball, and getting buckets.”
Next up: North Texas heads to San Antonio to take on the University of Texas at San Antonio at 2 p.m. Saturday.