On Monday night North Texas beat FIU 64-57, thanks to a 12-0 run about the 7-minute mark. Kai Huntsberry did a bulk of that work, getting a personal 6-0 run in there to boost NT. It wasn’t a beautiful game, but North Texas doesn’t play particularly flowing basketball. It was beautiful if you like good defense, deliberate pace, and big time shot making.
The days since then are running together and MGN staff has been busy toiling away on this planet earning cash to survive and whatnot, so please forgive the lack of detail. It is all fading into memory.
Things we liked about the FIU game
- NT won despite shooting only 38% | NT had 37 offensive rebounds and had to grind this thing out
- NT won despite recent star contributor Aaron Scott only managing 2 points
- NT won after losing to FAU on Saturday. Stayed strong. Character win
- Tylor Perry scoring 17 including 4/8 from three.
- Rubin Jones and Jayden Martinez combining for 19 off the bench (13 from JM)
This is a classic game-that-good-teams-win-and-bad-teams-lose kind of deal. The Mean Green had to play an ugly, grind-it-out game against a scrappy team at home. Lose a little focus and the lead is suddenly too much to get through. All that tough-practicing and suddenly a little adversity is no big deal. NT blew the game open with a classic 12-0 run late, and won the game after that. Kai Huntsberry was great, Tylor Perry was customarily great shooting the ball and the rest of the squad did a lot of little things.
Did we love the shot clock violations? No. Did we love that FIU had the lead at half? No. Did we love the refs? No comment at this time.
North Texas is 22-8 vs Rice, including 11-1 in Denton. Grant McCasland is 10-1 vs Rice. North Texas is at home in Denton, in front of fans who are presumably back in class and on campus and ready to enjoy a good basketball squad. The Mean Green have a great defense still, and Rice does not. Well, this version of Scott Pera’s team is not as explosive in conference play as they have been in years’ past. Usually the Owls shoot a ton, run a lot of back cuts and rely on Max Fieldler to distribute the ball and score. They haven’t done this as efficiently, but they still do score. The advance numbers are down a bit. Rice still plays awful defense, however. That hasn’t changed.
NT has had its way with the Owls recently, sweeping last year’s three games with three blowouts. This is the first of two matchups and NT is already favored by about 10 points tonight. Why? Well a good defense against an offense that is not super efficient right now, and an efficient offense against a poor defense.
Expect Abou Ousmane to be key, again, as hey usually is, against their big and winning that battle. He held Fieldler to under 10 points in all three matchups last year. Remember that 37-point game vs UTSA by AO? Well this is about as close to the kind of matchup we will see. If anything it is a chance to boost the old scoring average. If Rice doubles on AO, we will see wide open opportunities for NT’s shooters. Everyone has been good in the last weeks at shooting, but here is hoping Tyree Eady can escape the little funk he has been in. Same with Rubin Jones, who is shooting a mere .189 from three this season. Last season he shot .345 on 110 attempts. Methinks it is just the next step in getting back into rhythm.