The North Texas men’s basketball team’s first two-game game in Florida won’t be one Mean Green will forget anytime soon.
Luckily for UNT, he will have a short break to recover from his second close loss to Florida Atlantic this season.
Mean Green headed through town after waiving a 66-62 FAU decision to take on the Florida International on Monday, when the UNT women will also be in a home game against the Panthers.
The UNT women’s game will start at 15:30 at the Super Pit and the men’s game will start at 18:00.
The UNT members head into the final game of their trip in search of a way to recover after throwing a thriller at the Owls. Mean Green led 56-51 midway through the second half before the FAU rallied.
Jonel Davis hit a paint jumper with 2:23 left to put the FAU up 64–61. UNT shot Tylor Perry’s free kick to within one with 31 seconds left and had a chance to win in the final seconds, but Perry’s three-pointer rebounded.
“Their determination was better,” said UNT coach Grant McCasland. “They had a more subdued look and were more solid throughout the game.”
Watching the game slip away was especially hard on UNT due to its impact on the conference standings. The FAU entered the game as the last undefeated team in C-USA and inflicted UNT’s only loss before Saturday’s game when it ended in a 50–46 victory at 13–0.
FAU is now 6-0 in C-USA and has a two-game lead in the losing streak at UNT, which is 5-2 in league play and 14-4 in the season.
The Evil Greens have won a regular season or tournament title in C-USA in each of the past three seasons, and they have some reason to catch up if they want to extend that streak with another regular season title.
UNT can take a step towards this goal when it takes over the FIU (8-9, 2-4). Earlier this year, Mean Green beat the Panthers 72-57.
Sophomore quarterback Denver Jones averaged 18.9 points per game while leading the FIU and scored 24 points against Mean Green in the first meeting. Perry leads the UNT by 17.7 points per game.
The female UNT participants are in a very different position than the male “Evil Greens” who come to grips with the FIU.
UNT had one of their best games of the year, defeating FAU 75-59 on Saturday behind Kendall McGruder. The sophomore guard scored a career-high 29 points ahead of UNT after a nine-point deficit at halftime.
UNT (5-11, 2-4) hopes the result will help turn the tide of the season.
“At the start of the season, we didn’t know who we were going to have,” said UNT women’s coach Jali Mitchell. “As the season progressed, people had to step up. Kendall is one of them. I am proud of her and Anya Johnson. We are growing. we play FIU.”
Senior defenseman Quincy Noble leads the UNT with an average of 17.6 points per game. Earlier this year, UNT went to PFR 86-67.
The Panthers are 8-7, 3-3 ahead of senior defenseman Calia Henderson, who is averaging 13.5 points per game.
BRETT VITO can be contacted at 940-566-6870 and on Twitter at @brettvito.