North Texas at Florida International
When: 18:00 today
Where: Ocean Bank Convention Center, Miami
Entries: UNT 14-4, 5-2 Conference USA; PFR 8-9, 2-4 Conference USA
Last game: Florida Atlantic 66, UNT 62; Western Kentucky 70, FIU 59
TV SET: ESPN+
Radio: Mean Green Learfield IMG College
Projected UNT starting lineup
PG: Kai Huntsberry, 6-3, Sr – Huntsberry scored 13 points on all but one of four attempts from three-point range in UNT’s loss to the FAU. Senior has been very hot lately, scoring 5 of 8 points from behind the arc in his last two UNT games. He averages 11.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
GRAM: Tylor Perry, 5-11, Sr – Perry grabbed a season-high seven rebounds in a loss to UNT FAU. He also scored 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range. Senior has scored at least 20 points in three of UNT’s last five games and is averaging 17.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
GRAM: Tyree Eady, 6-5, Sr — Eady made two shots from three-point range and scored his only points of the game in UNT’s loss to the FAU with one of them. Senior has hit one triple in four of UNT’s last five games and is averaging 3.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
F: Aaron Scott, 6-7, So. Scott is showing his best basketball of the season in the past few weeks. He scored a career-high 14 points on 6 of 10 shots in UNT’s loss to FAU and hit double figures in four straight games. He is averaging 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
F: Abu Usman, 6-10 years old, junior. Usman was something of a forgotten man after UNT’s loss to the FAU. The junior got into an unpleasant situation, struck only three blows from the floor and missed everything. He finished with one point on the free throw. Usman is averaging 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
Scouting Florida International
FIU has had a hard time beating at home all year and has an 8-3 record in Miami. The Panthers have lost all six road games.
Sophomore quarterback Denver Jones is averaging 18.9 points per game while leading the FIU and scored 24 points in a loss to UNT earlier this year. Freshman guard Arturo Dean is adding 12.5 points per game for a defensively oriented team.
What do you need to know
On Saturday, UNT lost to the FAU for the second heartbreaking game in a row. Midway through the second half, the Mean Greens were five points ahead before the Owls returned to take a two-point lead belatedly.
Perry missed the go-ahead by 3 lates and the FAU kept from winning.
The challenge for UNT is to face a solid PFR team that has picked up some quality wins this season. In early January, the Panthers eliminated UAB and Charlotte one after the other.
UNT is two games behind the FAU in the losing column after the Owls won their first six games in the league. Mean Green has some grounds to catch up if they want to be C-USA regular season champion again.
Defeating FIU and completing the Panthers’ seasonal sweep would be a key step in the right direction.
Women UNT participants today also act at home against the FIU. Here is a link to today’s story, looking at both games.
BRETT VITO can be contacted at 940-566-6870 and on Twitter at @brettvito.