The final: North Texas 63, ZAO 52
Where is the UNT: UNT improved to 16-5 for the season and 7-3 in Conference USA. Mean Green bounced back from a heavy loss to Rice with their victory over the Blazers.
What now?: UNT will return home to face their two Texas C-USA rivals in UTSA and UTEP next week. On Thursday, The Mean Green will play the Roadrunners, and on Saturday they will play the Miners.
Star of the day: Kai Huntsberry scored a game-high 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting in UNT’s win over UAB. Huntsberry hit three triples and also handed out six assists.
“The unity needed to win is the most important aspect in overcoming difficult conditions and winning. These dudes are such good teammates and are so happy for each other.”
– Grant McCasland, UNT coach, on the path Mean Green took to defeat UAB.
Our opinion: UNT was in a quandary ahead of the game against UAB. The Mean Greens have lost two of their last three games and were scheduled to face a Blazers desperate to turn their season around at home.
UNT handled this pressure impressively, breaking up a tense game in the first half.
Mean Green had amazing offensive balance. Huntsberry was one of only three UNT players to hit double figures. Abu Usman added 13 points and Tylor Perry added 10.
UNT did a good job of holding back the UAB in attack. The Blazers hit just one in 10 shots from three-point range and just 36.2% (17 of 47) of field goals.
Eric Gaines led the Blazers to 15 points but missed all five of his shots from three-point range.
Florida Atlantic remains the best team in C-USA. The Owls beat UNT twice and led 18-1 and 8-0 in the C-USA game ahead of the UTEP game late Saturday night.
UAB was without Jordan Walker on Saturday, but UNT’s victory in many ways made Mean Green the second-best team in the league.
BRETT VITO can be contacted at 940-566-6870 and on Twitter at @brettvito.