Nate Frye usually plays the role of ball-distributing point guard for the UNO men’s basketball team, but Tuesday night he saw he had the upper hand in his matchup, so he took full advantage of it.
The sophomore’s career-high 22 points helped UNO to a 90-60 victory over Central Baptist at Lakefront Arena.
“Their guards were a little smaller than I’m used to playing, and I just saw an opportunity,” said Brown, who was 7-of-9 from the field. “I’m a good slasher and, once they adjusted and started playing a little more zone, I started to look for my guys in their spots.”
Frye already had exceeded his career-best scoring night by halftime, with 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting, and coach Mark Slessinger said Frye’s efficient play was key.
“Nate does a really good job of picking his spots,” Slessinger said. “He had one bad possession the whole night, and he was kicking himself in the butt for it. His play has really improved, and we’re excited to see him develop.”
UNO’s big-man trio of Terrance Syon, Kevin Hill and Travin Thibodeaux dominated the paint, a major reason UNO (4-5) held the Mustangs (4-6) to 37 percent from the field and the Privateers outrebounded them 49-29. The three Privateers big men combined for 31 points and 20 rebounds, and they accounted for seven of the team’s season-high 10 blocks on the night.
“Thibodeaux has been really good for us. His numbers don’t always show up in the stat line, but he gives us good solid minutes defensively,” Slessinger said. “Terrence is a forward for us, but he can also guard point guards. He’s so talented defensively, and he just knows how to play.”
The Privateers began to open their lead midway into the second half with a 16-2 run that was capped by a shot clock-beating jumper by Frye that gave UNO a 30-14 lead. They led 46-28 by halftime.
“We always talk about guarding our yard and defending our territory, so this win was very important,” Frye said. “It’s just one of the things Coach always tells us about how we need to have pride in the people that came before us and defending this territory in New Orleans.”
Tuesday night’s contest was the final game for the Privateers before Southland Conference play begins and, with home games against Lamar and Sam Houston State scheduled for Monday and Jan. 10, Slessinger hopes his team’s success at home (3-0) can carry over to conference play.
“We’re lucky we have two at home to start,” Slessinger said. “It’s going to be a tough 18-game tilt.”
James Brown paced the Mustangs with 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting.