If you’ve followed the Mean Green basketball season at all you know that they have been a huge disappointment so far, the game Sunday night against Southeastern Louisiana didn’t change that. Southeastern came in with one win on the season, and they have lost to Louisiana-Monroe (giving ULM their only win on the season). The UNT Mean Green struggled on offense: they scored just 45 points in the win. The last time the Mean Green scored so few points and still won the game was against Air Force in 1963. ULM scored 68 points in their win over SELU, showing how bad UNT’s offense really is.
Before the game started their weren’t many fans on hand to see the game because many students had already left for Christmas break. Many people believed, and hoped, that this would be a blowout win for the Mean Green and something that would create a spark and catapult this team to where everyone expected they’d be. Instead, we got a steady dose of bad basketball (some people may want to call it a defensive bout). The Mean Green shot 27% from the field in the first half including 0-7 from behind the arc. The only player who did much of anything on the offensive end was Roger Franklin who had 12 of their 19 points. Franklin went 6-9 from the floor, but the the rest of the team was 3-24. The second half was better, but not by much. The North Texas Mean Green shot 32% in that period, which put them at 29% for the game. Tony Mitchell scored just 8 points while shooting 1-9 from the field to continue his unspectacular play so far this season (he did have 10 rebounds). Alzee Williams had 12 points, and Jordan Williams, who sat out the first half for breaking team rules, had 8 points in just the second half.
If you are an overly optimistic person you may look at SELU’s 25% shooting for the game and say that the Mean Green defense was fantastic. They only allowed 40 points, but I don’t look at it that way. While the defense wasn’t bad, it wasn’t lights out either. SELU missed plenty of shots that could have gone down and they out rebounded the Mean Green 51 to 42 (including 16 offensive boards). SELU had one player go 0-16 from the field. One of their top scorers, Roosevelt Johnson, left the game in the opening minutes after taking an inadvertent elbow from Tony Mitchell that appeared to give him a concussion. Rebounding has been a problem all season for the Mean Green, and I have to think that going for blocks on defense puts this team in a bad position to get defensive rebounds on the back side. None of the players have said they believe that’s a problem. When I’ve asked Mean Green Head Coach Benford, he has said they work on rebound (and shooting) more than anything else in practice. Roger Franklin told me they just need to work harder and be tougher to get more rebounds, but UNT Mean Green players have said that to me a few times in the past, but their performance on the court hasn’t changed.
The Mean Green should be thankful that they came away with a win on Sunday night, if a few more shots had happened to fall for SELU, they would have come away with a win. On Thursday night, the UNT Mean Green play Lehigh (8-2) and the nations leading scorer in C.J. McCollum (24.9ppg). He is one potentially one of the best players to ever play at The Super Pit. The Mean Green will need to be much better than they have been so far if they hope to have any chance at a victory. More importantly, Tony Mitchell will have to step up and become the superstar this team needs him to be. There will be 54 NBA scouts on hand for Thursdays matchup between two potential 1stround picks, so if you’d like to see a show come out to the Super Pit at 7pm.