UNT survives exhibition test

Posted Friday, Nov. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The North Texas men survived a ragged performance before finally shaking off Oklahoma City in the closing minutes for a 78-70 win in an exhibition game Friday night at the Super Pit.

The Mean Green struggled on offense, shooting 38.6 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from the free throw line.

“This is why you play exhibition games,” North Texas coach Tony Benford said. “We have some things we need to clean up, especially on the defensive end of the floor.”

Benford also said the team would have to adjust to new hand-check rules this season, evidenced by an average of almost 1 1/2 called fouls per minute of play.

“Any contact, and they’re going to call you,” Benford said. “We have to get better at recognizing that as a team. We have to defend without fouling. Teams across the country are going to have to adjust the way they play.”

Chris Jones and Jordan Williams led the way for UNT with 16 and 12 points respectively, and Keith Coleman and transfers T.J. Taylor (from Marquette) and Armani Flannigan (from Central Wyoming State) had strong efforts as well. Coleman had 11 points and eight rebounds, Taylor had 10 points and two steals, and Flannigan pulled down 10 rebounds and added six points and a block.

Both teams suffered through an offensive drought in the opening period, combining to hit 29.5 percent of their shots from the field and making just 18 field goals in the first half. They combined to shoot just 38.3 percent for the game. Oklahoma City shot more free throw attempts than field goals.

UNT held as much as a three-point lead in the first half but could never shake the Stars, who took a 35-34 lead into halftime.

The Mean Green finally got clear of the Stars early in the second half, opening a 48-42 lead on a Jordan Williams dunk. Oklahoma City got within two on its first 3-point field goal of the game to make it 58-56, before Brandon Walton, back after missing last year because of injury, later hit a 3 to push UNT’s lead to double figures at 68-58.

UNT next plays Southeastern Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Monday at the Super Pit before opening the regular season on Friday at home against Northwood.

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