DENTON — Just two days after capturing one of its most impressive road wins in recent memory, the 11-1 North Texas men's basketball team returns to the Super Pit on Thursday for its final non-conference game of the year.
The Mean Green host Arkansas Pine Bluff at 7:00 p.m. The game will be broadcasted on C-USA.tv and on KNTU 88.1 FM, KHYI 95.3 FM or on the tuneIN ap. The voice of the Mean Green, Dave Barnett and Hank Dickenson
will be on the call.
North Texas (11-1) beat New Mexico (5-5) on Tuesday 74-65 in front of 9,944 loud Lobo fans in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the program's first win over UNM in its third try. It was the largest road crowd UNT has won in front of in over 13 years and the 11-1 start is the best start since the 1976-77 team.
A composed Mean Green team handled New Mexico's constant defensive press. They forced UNM's leading scorers into difficult positions and limited their shots and possessions as they forced 21 Lobo turnovers and stole the ball 16 times.
Despite being one of the smallest teams in the country and New Mexico being one of the biggest, North Texas played more physical and outscored the Lobos 44-18 in the paint. All of UNM's two-point field goals came inside the paint.
UNT now has as many road non-conference wins this season — three — as it did from 2012 through 2017.
The Other Guys
The Mean Green are welcoming a Golden Lions (3-7) team to the Super Pit on Thursday that hasn't played a game since Dec. 10 and features guard Martaveous McKnight who leads the nation in minutes per game at 38.0, though he has yet to play all 40 minutes in a non-overtime game this season. He is also the only Golden Lions player to be averaging double-digit points per game as he boasts an impressive league-leading 24.2 average.
McKnight is the reigning Southwestern Athletic Conference Player of the Year and dropped 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting at No. 12 Texas Tech on Dec. 5. He then followed that game up with 22 points at UC Santa Barbara. UAPB lost both games.
In UAPB's most recent game, McKnight had a near-historic effort in the team's 84-51 win over Champion Christian College. In what has been their only home game of the year so far, McKnight finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 10 steals and eight assists, falling just two assists shy of a quadruple-double.
UAPB beat Cal Baptist in triple overtime 115-107 on a neutral site in Little Rock, Arkansas. McKnight scored 40 on 13-of-27 shooting in 52 minutes of action.
If you include Roosevelt Smart
, a year removed from setting the UNT single-scoring record, who is averaging 11.2 points per game, though has only played in five games, the Mean Green are the only team in C-USA that has five guys averaging double digits (Gibson, Smart, Z. Simmons, Duffy, Woolridge). In order for UNT to get six guys averaging double digits after Thursday, Michael Miller
needs to score 16 points versus UAPB to reach a season average of 10 points per game. Smart has to score six to maintain his double-digit average and Duffy needs to score five to maintain his double-digit average. Woolridge, Simmons and Gibson are safe even if they are held scoreless.
One And Only
is the only player in program history with 800+ points, 300+ rebounds and 300+ assists. Josh White (2011) almost accomplished that but fell 16 rebounds shy of 300. The junior, Woolridge, is on pace to graduate with 1,400+ points, 600+ rebounds and 600+ assists.
The 9,944 fans the Mean Green played in front of at New Mexico on Dec. 18, was the second largest crowd UNT had played in front of under Grant McCasland
. North Texas lost at Nebraska on Nov. 13, 2017 in front of 15,059.
North Texas' attendance records go back to the 2005-06 season, before its win at New Mexico, the largest true road crowd North Texas had won in front of was 7,017 at LSU on Dec. 22, 2010.
16 of 18
UNT has won 16 of its last 18 games (dating back to the start of the CBI) which is the best 18-game stretch UNT has been on since the 1977-78 when UNT won 17 of 19 games. UNT has never won 18-of-20.
Santa Claus will be at the Super Pit meeting fans and hearing all of Mean Green's Christmas wishes on Thursday from 6:30 p.m. until after halftime.