GAME NOTES: The North Texas Mean Green make their first appearance at the Super Pit this month on Thursday when they host the Old Dominion Monarchs for Conference USA action.
The Monarchs are coming off a 63-49 loss to Texas-El Paso which dropped them to an 11-13 overall record. Old Dominion will be looking to end a two-game road losing streak and improve upon its 5-4 C-USA record in Denton. Coach Jeff Jones's defensive-minded philosophy has helped the team to an allowance of only 65.1 ppg, which is the third best scoring defense in the 16-team conference. However, ODU is the least productive team in the C-USA on the other end of the floor, netting only 64.2 ppg.
North Texas endured its fourth consecutive setback on Saturday as it dropped a 90-75 decision to Louisiana Tech to conclude a damaging three-game road swing. The Mean Green's shortcoming lowered them below the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 22 and left them with a 2-7 C-USA record. Coach Tony Benford's squad has allowed its conference opponents to net 75.8 ppg, which is the second most among C-USA programs. North Texas is in the middle of the pack offensively, scoring 69.7 ppg in league action.
This will be the first meeting in history between ODU and the Mean Green on the hardwood.
ODU was held under the 50-point mark for the second time in three games on Saturday. UTEP held the Monarchs to a mere 25.5 percent shooting from the floor including a 3-of-19 clip from beyond the arc. ODU finished with only four assists against 11 turnovers and also failed to convert 13 of its 35 free-throw attempts. Keenan Palmore and Ambrose Mosley tied for the team-high with eight points apiece. Dimitri Batten, who is the Monarchs' third-leading scorer at 11 ppg, missed all nine of his field tries and committed four turnovers. ODU's usual go-to-guy, Aaron Bacote (16.5 ppg), also had a forgettable outing as he contributed only four points.
The Mean Green were handed a 15-point loss by Louisiana Tech despite a strong offensive performance that featured six different players with at least eight points. North Texas shot an even 50 percent from the floor and also sank 7- of-16 attempts from 3-point range, but it was outscored, 32-12, at the free- throw line and turned the ball over 14 times. Jordan Williams registered a double-double with team-highs of 17 points and 10 boards, while Alzee Williams scored 11 points. Vertrail Vaughns paced the second unit with 10 points in 15 minutes of reserve work. Jordan Williams is the Mean Green's leader on the campaign with averages of 12.7 ppg and 6.3 rpg. Alzee Williams is clocking a team-best 28.7 minutes per tilt and second in the scoring column at 11.8 ppg.
ODU should be able to get into a rhythm offensively against the Mean Green, who have allowed 70 points or more in five of their last six games. The Monarchs are undersized up front, but their lack of height may not hold them back since UNT does not have a legitimate low post threat.
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