MEN’S BASKETBALL: Tops pin North Texas

Danny Schoenbaechler

Road games have not yielded many positive results for Western this season.

Embarrassment and injury in Arizona.

A rivalry loss to Murray State.

A 21-point shellacking in Detroit.

And a 2-2 road record in the Sun Belt Conference.

The Hilltoppers were determined to make Saturday’s game at North Texas different. They accomplished that with an 85-70 victory.

After the Detroit loss, coach Dennis Felton called a team meeting to identify what was going on with his team.

The meeting lasted two hours, and his squad responded with three wins in the next seven days.

The win in Denton, Texas, gives the Toppers a 3-7 road record with two non-Bowling Green destinations left on their schedule.

Western (15-8 overall, 7-2 Sun Belt) jumped all over the Mean Green with suffocating team defense.

“We completely took them out of anything they have done all year or have wanted to do,” Felton said. “We turned them into a team that had to revert to trying to beat us individually, and we really dictated everything that happened on the court. Anytime you go onto somebody else court and hold them to below 40 percent shooting both halves it is terrific defense.”

The Mean Green shot just 37.7 percent for the game including 2-14 from behind the arc.

North Texas’ leading scorer, Chris Davis, exploded for 30 points.

Davis produced only six first-half points and chipped in the final 24 with the game already decided.

“We actually did an awfully good job on him,” Felton said. “Most of them he got by just putting his head down and barreling toward the basket, and he got a lot of calls go his way down the stretch.”

Davis scored 12 of his 30 from the line going 12-16 from the line.

The Toppers were lead offensively by senior Filip Videnov’s career-high 20 points.

“For some reason, this year I have felt more confident shooting in other people’s gyms,” Videnov said. “I just let the shots come to me.”

The Toppers have played five games in 10 days and are now in the midst of a four-day break.

“Today was the first time in about two weeks that we have had a chance to evaluate ourselves and work at improving our own game,” Felton said. “That’s why I’m so tickled to go through that stretch at 4-1. We never had time to look at what we were doing and look at what we could do better.”

Senior David Boyden said the team is starting to feel more comfortable away from Diddle Arena.

“We’re starting to feel confident that we can win on the road consistently,” he said. “It was a good team win for us.”

Reach Danny Schoenbaechler at [email protected]