UNT will take on Rice here in a few minutes at the Super Pit.
The Mean Green enter this game off a tough loss to Southern Miss a week ago. UNT had a chance to close that game late in regulation and blew it. The Golden Eagles ended up winning 75-71 in overtime.
UNT (8-11, 2-5 Conference USA) has lost three of its last four games and is facing a tough trip to Western Kentucky and Marshall next week. This is a game UNT really needs to win.
We went over the matchup in our regularly scheduled Chalk Talk post last night.
Rice depends heavily on connecting from 3-point range and leads Conference USA with an average of 8.6 3s a game. Where UNT has an advantage is inside where Jeremy Combs has an edge athletically. Colin Voss also matches up well with Rice inside.
Combs had 18 points in UNT’s 66-63 win over Rice in Houston earlier this year.
Rice (6-13, 3-4) actually is ahead of UNT in the Conference USA standings and won consecutive games against Charlotte and Southern Miss before falling to Louisiana Tech and Houston last week.
Sophomore guard Marcus Jackson is averaging 14.3 points a game and has pushed his average to 19.3 points a game in league play. UNT will have to stretch its zone to get to Jackson.
Stay tuned. I will update the blog all night.
6:55 — In a weird twist, UNT is having a youth league game before tipoff. I’m not sure if I have ever seen that before.
6:57 — UNT’s starters: T.J. Taylor, Jordan Williams, Maurice Aniefiok, Jeremy Combs and Colin Voss. Taylor is back in at the point guard spot for the second straight game.
15:32 — UNT is down 9-7 at the first media timeout of the first half. Jordan Williams and Colin Voss both have three points for UNT. Rice hit its first three 3-point attempts and is shooting 50 percent from the field.
11:41 — This game is tied up at 15-15 at the second media timeout of the first half. Rice is headed to the line with a chance to take the lead. Jeremy Combs has seven points and had a nice put-back dunk. Rice led by as many as four early.
7:41 — UNT is down 22-19 at the third media timeout of the first half. UNT was down five before Jordan Williams scored. . Jeremy Combs still leads UNT with seven points. UNT has hit just one of its last five shots from the field. Rice has hit five 3s already.
5:19 — Rice is on fire from deep and is up 31-22 and Seth Gearhart just dropped the Owls’ eighth. TO UNT.
3:33 — Rice is now 9-for-15 from 3-point range and is up 36-27. Remember when UNT couldn’t miss in its game against Louisiana Tech in the first half? This looks pretty similar. Rice depends on the 3 to power its offense and is getting some good looks in transition.
19.2 — Maurice Aniefiok is keeping this close for UNT. He just hit a 3 to pull UNT to within 45-35.
Halftime — UNT is down 45-37 at halftime, and it could have been a whole lot worse than that. The Mean Green were down 13 before Maurice Aniefiok hit a 3. UNT caught a couple of breaks in the closing seconds on a questionable five-second call and when Rice lost its mind and fouled Jordan Williams with 1.0 seconds left on the clock. Rice went 12-for-19 from 3-point range in the first half. Aniefiok has 13 points and Jordan Williams 10 in the first half.
14:57 — UNT is down 54-50 early in the second half. Jordan Williams just hit a 3. UNT took a timeout right away after the shot dropped. UNT was within three at 48-45 before Rice pushed its lead back out to seven on its 13th 3 on the night. Jordan Williams has 15 points for UNT.
14:24 — Rice just missed a chippie at the rim, but will get the ball back after this media timeout. Maurice Aniefiok has 13 points for UNT. Rice has hit just one 3 in the second half.
10:58 — UNT is down 57-54 at the second media timeout of the second half. UNT was within two before Rice hit a corner 3. Jordan Williams has 15 points for UNT. The Mean Green keep hanging around. That run at the end of the half by UNT really changed this game.
6:51 — This game is all tied up at 58-58 as we head down the stretch. Rice is headed to the line for a one-and-one opportunity. T.J. Taylor tied the game up with a jumper from the wing. Jordan Williams has 15 points, while Jeremy Combs and Maurice Aniefiok both have 13 for UNT.
5:01 — UNT has taken a 62-59 lead and has all the momentum in this game at this point. T.J. Taylor just hit a big layup for UNT’s last points.
4:42 — Jordan Williams just hit a layup on a curl and drew a foul. He’s headed to the line with UNT up 64-59. It looks like UNT is going to rally for the win here.
3:54 — Colin Voss hit a hook on UNT’s last possession to put the Mean Green up 66-59 at the final media timeout. Jordan Williams has 17 points to lead UNT. Rice hasn’t hit a shot from the field since it was was 57-52 and is one for its last 14 from the field.
1:16 — UNT is up 70-64 and is about to wrap this one up. The Mean Green were up nine before Rice hit a 3 off a scramble play. That is one of the few 3s Rice has hit in the second half.
:45 — DeAndre Harris is down. He walked off, but took a pretty hard hit.
Final — UNT 75, Rice 65. I will be back later.