North Texas freshman, JaMichael Brown, picked a very good time to have a career performance for the Mean Green. In a sort of homecoming, he lead North Texas with 21 points, 18 of them coming in the second half, as he helped lead the rally on Saturday evening, beating UTSA 70-66.
The former Madison Maverick caught fire in the second stanza, hitting on 4 of 6 three pointers, and picking up a steal, then virtually sealing the cause with a one handed flush, bringing the Mean Green all the way back from an 18 point deficit.
UTSA would hold a seven point lead (51-44) near the 11 minute mark, but North Texas would go on a 21-2 run over the next seven minutes to flip roles with the 'Runners. During their spurt, Brown put in seven points, and junior teammate J-Mychal Reese also added five, as they catapulted the Mean Green to the victory.
Head Coach Brooks Thompson talked about the difference in the second half for the 'Runners.
"I'm not even sure it was down the stretch, I think the whole second half. The first half we really came out and stopped them in transition and we got points. We made them try and score in the half-court and we ended up getting 40 points. They only ended up getting 25, and that came out of our defense. Second half came around, we come out and take three terrible shots and the momentum just goes their way. We were still up ten, and felt like things were going, but we just couldn't overcome not playing the right way. Our guys have to learn how to win."
UTSA started out the first half with their best team performance on the season, outscoring the Mean Green 40-25 at the break. The 'Runners used the strength of five 3-pointers, shooting 9 of 11 from the charity stripe, and forcing 12 UNT miscues to their advantage. Right before the half, UTSA did go up by as many as 18 points on a James Ringholt trey from the corner, but JaMichael Brown responded with his only bucket of the first half, a 3-pointer, to set the score at the break.
On the night, UTSA was led by senior guard Ryan Bowie who finished with 20 points and 7 boards. The senior also shot 4 of 5 from deep in doing his part to pace the 'Birds.
"In the first half we guarded, we held them to 25 points. In the second half, I think we got too lackadaisical and comfortable and they end up scoring 45 points. We have to maintain top intensity and defensive effort to get the victory."
Gino Littles had 10 points and was the only 'Runner in double digits. Sophomore guard Christian Wilson, a key creator and scorer for the 'Runners finished with seven points, but picked up his fifth foul with 5:03 remaining in the game.
For the first time all season, Head Coach Brooks Thompson tinkered with his starting line-ups, inserting Jr. Harris (Jr.) and Christian Wilson (So.), into the back-court. The move paid some dividends as the 'Runners were more fluid and active on the offensive end. After the contest Coach Thompson said it's probable that he'll stick with that line-up when the 'Runners tip off against Rice on Sunday afternoon. UTSA is now 2-12 (0-1) on the season. Ball goes up at 3pm from the Convo on Sunday afternoon as the 'Runners take on the Owls.