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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (AP) — Alphonso Anderson scored 10 of his 19 points down the stretch, Justin Bean had a double-double, and No. 15 Utah State scored the final 11 points to beat North Texas 68-59 to win the Montego Bay division of the Jamaica Classic on Sunday night.
Bean finished 14 points and 13 rebounds and Diogo Brito scored 15 points for Utah State (7-0).
"That was a heck of a basketball game tonight," Utah State coach Craig Smith said. "I thought North Texas played an excellent game, and we knew they would. They are a very, very good defensive team, they make it very difficult for you to get baskets, and I thought we had some really good looks in the first half; they just weren’t falling.
"They make the game messy, they mix it up in there, and I thought they were the aggressor."
Deng Geu threw down a two-handed dunk in traffic and the Umoja Gibson made a layup to give UNT (2-5) a 59-57 lead with 4:11 to play but the Mean Green did not score again. Bean tied it with a jumper 16 seconds later before Anderson added a short jumper and a layup to make it 63-59 with 1:37 remaining. North Texas missed its final seven shots.
The game featured 12 ties, with the score knotted for more than 10 minutes, and 17 lead changes. Neither team lead by for than five points until the closing seconds.
Gibson led North Texas with 19 points and Geu scored 18.
"I thought our guys were working hard, but not hard enough," Smith said. "But our guys found a way to win. This isn’t gymnastics where you get style points for winning; the bottom line is to get the W."
Utah State: It wasn’t pretty but the Aggies escaped Jamaica with two wins despite having trailed by as many as 18 points before rallying to beat LSU 80-78 on Friday and struggling against UNT’s tight defense on Sunday. Anderson averaged 21.5 points on 59% shooting and Bean, who was named tournament MVP, had back-to-back double-doubles.
North Texas: Coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons the Mean Green have lost five of their last six games and are averaging just 56 points per game during that stretch. Unless they can find a way to score more consistently, a third straight 20-win season seems unlikely.
Utah State: The Aggies travel to Moraga, California, to take on Saint Mary’s on Friday.
North Texas: The Mean Green have a week off before a short trip to down I-35 to take on UT Arlington on Dec. 2.
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