Final: Samford 74, UNT 72
Where UNT stands: The Mean Green have lost two straight and fell back to the .500 mark after dropping each of their first two games against Division I opponents after opening the season with a pair of runaways over NAIA teams
Now what?: UNT will close out play in the Mean Green Challenge with a 4:30 p.m. game today against Troy.
Star of the day: Jeremy Combs continued to play well while scoring 18 points and pulling down nine rebounds in UNT’s loss to Samford. What might have been even more significant was the fact that Combs went 12-for-16 from the free-throw line where he has struggled throughout his career. The sophomore came in having his just eight of his 21 attempts from the line on the season.
“It’s disappointing. We knew some solid teams were coming in. We have to put 40 minutes together. I have told our guys that we have a long season. We have to start with one and that starts tomorrow. We let two get away.”
– Tony Benford, UNT head coach after the Mean Green dropped their second straight game in the Mean Green Challenge
Our take: UNT suffered a second straight tough loss on its home floor when it couldn’t close out Samford. The Mean Green desperately need to at least creep over the .500 mark at the end of the year and set the schedule up to give themselves a chance with five straight home games to open the season.
UNT opened against a pair of NAIA teams with three games against Division I team that aren’t exactly household names to close out that early-season series. UNT took care of the NAIA teams (Jarvis Christian and Texas College), but is back at .500 after losses to Idaho and Samford.
Those losses leave UNT in a tough spot. UNT will face a Troy team that is 3-2 today and then play a Northern Iowa team that knocked off North Carolina, a tough UTA team that has wins over Ohio State and Memphis and then take on Southern Illinois, which is 5-0, in a home-and-home series.
If UNT can’t beat Troy today, it’s hard to see where the Mean Green could pick up their first win over a Division I program this season.