LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -North Texas missed seven of its last 11 free throws in the final 90 seconds but managed to hold on for an 84-82 win over Western New Mexico in the first round of the Lou Henson Classic on Friday night.
The Mean Green (4-1) was leading 83-79 with about 2 seconds left but Western New Mexico closed the gap on a 3-pointer from Steve Berrellesa. North Texas' Josh White was fouled and made the second of his two free throws to seal the win.
Western New Mexico's Trey Clarkson put up a 3-point attempt at the buzzer but missed.
White and Dez Willingham both finished with 17 points for North Texas. Keith Wooden had 12 for the Mean Green and Ben Bell added 11.
Western New Mexico was led by Clarkson's 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the 3-point range. J.J. Galbreth added 14 and Devin Stewart and D.J. Nicholas each had 12.
North Texas used a 10-2 run to gain a 10-point lead with eight minutes to go in the game. The Mustangs (3-2) kept chipping away and pulled within 77-73 with 1:41 remaining.
The Mustangs repeatedly fouled the Mean Green, hoping that their cold free-throwing shooting might open up an opportunity for the Mustangs to catch up, and the strategy almost worked.
In the first half, North Texas broke a 4-all tie and built a 12-6 lead by the five-minute mark, but Western New Mexico was never far behind. The Mustangs pulled within four points seven times and within three points three times.
The Mustangs got hot from beyond the arc in the second half, pulling to within 69-65 and 72-69 on 3s by Casey Crevelone. Western New Mexico was 12-of-27 from 3-point range, hitting 44 percent in the second half.
North Texas dominated the boards, outrebounding the smaller Mustangs 46-34.
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