UNT-UTSA advance

North Texas guard Rubin Jones goes up for a layup earlier this season during the Mean Green’s win over Louisiana Tech. UNT will host UTSA on Thursday.

Tylor Perry could see a difference in just about every aspect of the way North Texas played last week when the Mean Green knocked off UAB on the road when compared to just a few days before.

UNT cruised to a win over the Blazers and looked like a totally different team than the one that allowed Rice to pull away late for a win at the Super Pit.

Tylor Perry mug 2022-23

Tylor Perry

“Our huddles were tighter, we talked more, and we didn’t let anything bother us,” UNT’s star guard said. “We got back to who we are.”

UNT will look to build on that performance on Thursday, when the Mean Green host UTSA in a rare 8 p.m. game that will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.

UNT (16-5) has hit a bit of a rough batch in the middle of the season and has dropped two of its last four games to fall to 7-3 in Conference USA play.

The Mean Green are the defending regular season C-USA champion. UNT’s chances of repeating have taken a significant hit in the last few weeks heading into its game against the Roadrunners (7-14, 1-9).

Florida Atlantic swept both of its games against UNT and has emerged as one of the best teams in college basketball. The Owls (19-1) are ranked No. 21 nationally and have grabbed control of C-USA title race after starting 9-0 in league play.

UNT’s focus isn’t the conference race. The Mean Green are aiming to build on their performance in their 63-52 win at UAB.

The Mean Green ran out to a 40-29 lead at halftime and cruised to the finish behind Kai Huntsberry, who finished with 19 points.

UNT’s performance in its win over the Blazers was a dramatic improvement over its 72-60 loss to Rice. The Mean Green ran out to an 11-point lead early but struggled late.

The Owls closed the game on an 18-6 run.

“Our guys were together at UAB and were excited to play,” UNT coach Grant McCasland said. “The season can wear on you. At home, we didn’t play with a lot of joy. There was an expectation that we were going to win no matter what. We were just playing.

“You have to have a fire to the way you play the game and the heart to compete and win together, not just play the game. We lost a little bit of that. We played with the type of passion we need at UAB.”

UNT will look to replicate that performance when it takes on a UTSA team that has lost six straight games since upsetting Middle Tennessee earlier this month.

“UTSA is struggling a bit but has been in a lot of close games,” Perry said. “You can’t let your guard down.”

Perry is averaging 17.3 points per game to lead the Mean Green, who rank third nationally with an average of 55.1 points allowed per game.

Senior guard Japhet Medor is averaging 13.7 points per game to pace UTSA.

UNT women aim to snap slide at UTSA

The UNT women will look to snap a two-game losing streak when they travel to face the Roadrunners on Thursday.

The Mean Green (6-13, 3-6) dropped their last game in stunning fashion, blowing a 17-point second-half lead in a 76-74 loss to UAB. UNT gave up 33 points in the third quarter and will look to rebound behind senior guard Quincy Noble, who is averaging 17.1 points per game.

UTSA has also struggled in its second season under former UNT coach Karen Aston. The Roadrunners (4-14) are 2-7 in C-USA play and have lost three straight.

UTSA features one of the top players in C-USA in junior forward Jordyn Jenkins. The Southern Cal transfer is averaging 19.9 points per game.

 
 

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BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

Originally published on dentonrc.com, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.

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