DENTON, TX - The North Texas Mean Green outscored the Central Arkansas Bears 11-3 in the final four minutes on Tuesday to take a 64-55 victory in front of an “Elementary Day” crowd of 3,664 at The Super Pit.
UCA (2-6) was within one point at 53-52 on a jumper with 4:01 left to play by senior DeShone McClure, who scored a career-high 23 points. But UNT answered with eight straight points, including 4 of 4 from the free-throw line, to pull away.
McClure’s final basket got the Bears back within six points at 61-55 with 30 seconds left but they got no closer. The Mean Green (6-5) made 22 of 30 free-throw attempts (73.3 percent). UCA was just 9 of 19 from the line, and 6 of 13 in the second half.
“We were able to get the ball to the basket in the second half off our dribble-drive offense,’ said UCA head coach Clarence Finley. “We got to the free-throw line a little early in the second half, and also made some layups. But at the end, we just couldn’t block out and keep them off the boards.
“If they did miss their shots, they tipped it back out. The second and third shots got us down the stretch.’
UCA, down 30-23 at halftime, surged to the lead midway through the second half behind the scoring of McClure and freshman forward Phabian Glasco. The Bears made 7 of their first 10 shots from the field. McClure’s three-pointer at the 12:21 mark gave UCA a 42-40 lead, and after North Texas went back ahead, UCA freshman Jalen Jackson nailed a jumper for a 44-42 advantage with 9:47 to play.
McClure then made two at the line for UCA’s last lead at 48-46 at the 7:00 mark. The 6-foot-3 forward from Jacksonville scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half. Jackson had a game-high 10 rebounds for the Bears, who were outrebounded 43-28. Glasco tied his career high with 12 points, hitting 6 of 8 from the field. The Bears had only nine turnovers in the game while forcing 16.
“We went to some isolation plays to DeShone in the second half and he did a good job getting to the basket,’ said Finley. “And I thought he was very active in our zone matchups. He really tried to lead the team today. We just couldn’t knock down the free throws and couldn’t make some key layups when we went to the basket late.’
Colin Voss topped the Mean Green with 13 points, while Jordan Williams added 11 and Alzee Williams scored 10. UCA’s perimeter defense held UNT to just 4 of 16 from three-point range.
UCA returns home to the Farris Center for five straight games, beginning at noon Saturday against Charleston Southern.
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