BATON ROUGE - The University of North Texas used a 17-2 run over the final six minutes of the first half to jump out to a 16-point halftime lead and stopped any LSU comeback attempt in the second half to win 75-55 Wednesday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
North Texas ran its record to 10-2 on the season. LSU falls to 7-5 going into Monday's game with Southern.
Jalen Courtney hit a three-pointer with 6:04 to go in the first half to make it 25-24 UNT but the Mean Green scored seven straight to go up 32-24 at the 3:48 mark. After one free throw by Eddie Ludwig, UNT rolled off six more before a Malcolm White free throw and then UNT finished with the final four points of the half.
The lead reached as much as 24 points in the second half before LSU scored nine straight to cut it to 15, 68-53, with 4:04 to play.
Josh White led UNT with 19 points, while Tristan Thompson had 14 and George Odufuwa and Dominique Johnson had 11 each for the Mean Green, which shot 51.8 percent for the game and 14-15 at the free throw line. UNT out rebounded the Tigers, 41-32.
LSU shot just 36.5 percent and 6-of-12 from the line. UNT had 40 points in the paint to LSU's 28.
The Tigers will be off three days for Christmas before returning to practice Sunday night in preparation for Monday's game with Southern. That game will tip off one hour early for television (Cox Sports TV) at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at LSUtix.net.
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LSU vs. North Texas
December 22, 2010
LSU HEAD COACH TRENT JOHNSON
"I wish I could sit up here and tell you I saw that coming, but my goodness. I don't want to get caught up in five games in 12 days or sluggish or any of that nonsense. We just weren't very good; we weren't very competitive tonight. We saw no signs as a staff of that in practice. The one thing that is apparent with this team from an offensive standpoint is the value that Andre Stringer and Ralston Turner have and the impact they have on us because the ball didn't go down for Ralston, Andre got in foul trouble and so, we struggled. We got opportunities in a lot of situations and made baskets and then, the same old thing for us.
"I thought they beat us to key rebounds, and we didn't defend at the point of attack. To sit up here and beat an old, dead horse, we played a team three days ago that is a lot more talented, a lot more skilled, has a lot more size and a lot more strength, and you put yourselves in a situation to win, and then, you have the same approach in practice, and you come out and play like that. So my hats off to (North Texas head coach) Johnny (Jones). Johnny is a hell of a man. He's a hell of a coach. He's got a nice team, and his players did a very, very good job. Basically what I told these guys was, 'Hey, I don't know what to tell you other than the fact that we flat got our tails handed to us at home, and you have three days to spend some time with family and friends and try to have a good Christmas and come back here on (December) 26 and get back after it.'"
On letting North Texas get into the paint...
"It's not technique. At times its communication, and at times I don't think its effort. I think it has to do with the physicality in terms of being bigger, stronger and quicker, but more importantly again, as much as I hate to say it, you have a lot of inexperience out front between who they're attacking. You look at Josh White; he's attacking Andre. Then, he goes to Eddie and Chris. It's just something that we are going to have to continue to thrive at because you'll probably ask me, 'Why don't we go to a zone?' The games and the balance go so quick, and as long as I've been involved in this game, good teams that run a zone defense, it's the same old thing. They can defend at the point of attack in the zone, or they can rebound from a zone. We are having a hard enough time rebounding out of a man. How are we going to rebound out of a zone? But, when you start talking about the question about technique, my goodness, we've gotten to a point now in practice, 80 percent of what we do in practice is defending our opponent and talking about blocking out, rebounding and taking care of the ball. The law of averages says we are going to continue to do it and hopefully get better at it."
LSU PLAYER QUOTES
On rebounding from two losses...
"I think we've played five games in the last 12 days, but all things aside I tip my hat to North Texas. They ran us up and down the court. We didn't stop balls in transition, gave up a lot of open shots, and we didn't match their intensity."
On being outscored in the paint...
"They took a lot of long shots and I think they beat us to some spots. Sometimes we were out of position and they beat us to the ball. They played hard and came in here with the mindset of executing their game plan. That's what they did and they got the win."
On the game tonight...
"The game didn't end the way we would've liked. We have to continue to work on things in practice like boxing out, rebounding, taking care of the ball and catching the ball with two hands. There are a lot of things Coach [Johnson] emphasizes. We just have to keep pushing. This wasn't the best of games."
On being mentally prepared for North Texas...
"They've been together for a long time. They have a lot of seniors on the team. They played a really good ball game. We have to continue to work out in the post and keep on rebounding. That was a problem tonight. We just need to keep playing defense."
On not being able to overcome a deficit tonight...
"I felt like we played really hard. I know we need to stop playing defense with our hands. We got in foul trouble in the first half. Everyone who had two fouls was pulled out of the game and that really hurt us as a team. I could tell we were playing very tentative at times. We came back in the second half and we were already down. We were just trying to push back, but it didn't happen tonight."
NORTH TEXAS HEAD COACH JOHNNY JONES
Opening Statement ...
"I thought our guys came out and did exactly what I asked them to do, they played with vigor and energy. We talked about the four Ds, playing disciplined, determined, defend well and if we did well we would have an opportunity to defeat the opponent, and I thought we did that. We did an excellent job defending in the first half and making the strong and necessary plays offensively, and that is why I think we shot a high percentage was our execution."
On the strong finish to end of the first half ...
"Well at 1:14 we had an opportunity to set us a special play and we wound up running it. We executed it and scored on it, and then on defense we made a good stop and were able to score again."
On being the first team from their conference to beat an SEC team this year...
"I think it says a lot about the players that we have here in the program and what these guys have been able to do over the years. I think they have made a huge impact not only with the team but for the league as a whole. The SEC is a tough league, they have won national championships. To be able to come out and play that way against a very good basketball team, a very talented basketball team, and I can assure you they will get it going when the chemistry gets together and let their experience catch up to their talent level some great things are going to happen for this LSU basketball team."