DENTON, Texas - University of Denver freshman guard Royce O'Neale (Killeen, Texas) recorded 21 points, eight rebounds and five steals, but the Pioneers were edged 75-74 by a buzzer beater in overtime at The Super Pit on Saturday night.
"That's part of the game," head coach Joe Scott said. "It comes down to being really good at the little things. We had a great defensive possession and forced them into a bad shot, but they got a tip. There was an eight-minute stretch when we stopped playing our way and got out of sorts, and North Texas took advantage.
"Our group that finished the game and played overtime did a very good job. I'm disappointed because we executed so well down the stretch but came up one rebound short at the end. We have to bounce back from this and use it to make us better."
The Pioneers (15-5, 5-2 SBC) took a one-point lead on a backdoor layup by senior forward Justin Coughlin (Yuma, Colo.) with 13 seconds left in overtime.
Denver's defense forced Roger Franklin into a quick shot that was off the mark, but Alzee Williams tapped the ball in just before the buzzer, giving the victory to North Texas (12-8, 5-2 SBC).
DU trailed by seven points with 52 seconds to go in regulation, but O'Neale drilled a three-pointer. Junior guard Chase Hallam (Mesquite, Texas) hit the first of two free throws, but the second went out of bounds to the Pioneers, and freshman guard Brett Olson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) scored a driving layup and hit the bonus to tie it at 66-66.
Olson scored 15 points, and senior guard Brian Stafford (Walnut Creek, Calif.) chipped in 11 points.
Denver led by six points with 9:55 remaining in the second half, but North Texas jumped out with a 13-0 run over the following six minutes.
The Pioneers shot 60.9 percent (14-of-23), including 60.0 percent (9-of-15) from three-point range in the first half.
Tony Mitchell had game-highs with 30 points and 17 rebounds for the Mean Green, while Roger Franklin had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Denver returns home to Magness Arena to host Arkansas State on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. MT (changed from original time). The game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS. Fans can listen to the action on Pioneer Vision, Mile High Sports Radio AM 1510 or FM 93.7, and via a live blog available at DenverPioneers.com.
Notes: The Pioneers are 0-2 in overtime this season and 0-5 when allowing more than 65 points...Denver's nine three-pointers in the first half marked the most first half three-pointers by DU since hitting nine against South Alabama on Feb. 25, 2010...The Pioneers shot 68.8 percent (11-of-16) from the free throw line, marking the first time this season that DU shot less than 73 percent from the charity stripe.