Army will roll into Heart of Dallas Bowl

Army players and coaches run onto the field after beating rival Navy 21-17 on Saturday in Baltimore. (Associated/Patrick Semansky)

Army players and coaches run onto the field after beating rival Navy 21-17 on Saturday in Baltimore. (Associated/Patrick Semansky)

North Texas will face an Army team on a roll in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

The Black Knights won their last two games of the regular season, including one of the biggest in recent program history on Saturday when they edged rival Navy 21-17.

Navy had won the previous 14 games.

Army broke that skid when quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw scored on a 9-yard run with 6:42 remaining. The Black Knights had not beaten their biggest rival since 2001.

“Our guys were thrilled,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “There’s a great love for each other in that locker room. There’s a brotherhood. They aren’t just teammates, those are guys that love each other and have poured everything out for each other. They enjoyed celebrating together. And what a celebration it was on the field. That was a thrill for the Corps of Cadets, for the United States Military Academy, and for the United States Army. A day like that is for all of us.”

Bowl games are often about motivation and momentum. Army will certainly have a lot of steam behind it after its win today.

UNT-Incarnate Word running blog

The North Texas women’s basketball team will face Incarnate Word here at the Super Pit this afternoon in a battle of teams that are struggling early in the season.

UNT is 2-6. Incarnate Word is 0-6 in its first season under new coach Christy Smith, a former Arkansas assistant.

There are might be 100 people here who are not on the payroll, playing or in the band/on the dance team/cheerleaders.

As far as the game goes, there is one note of interest. Madi Townley will make her first start today. The freshman is in to help UNT matchup with a smaller Incarnate Word team.

UNT got smoked in its last game, falling to Indiana 94-64 at home. The Mean Green are trying to just forget that game and move on. The Mean Green’s goal is to win three winnable games starting today before opening Conference USA play.

Here is the link to the advance in today’s paper.

Stay tuned. I will update the blog all day.

4:29 — UNT and Incarnate Word are all tied up at 7-7 at the first media timeout. UNT was up 5-0 before Incarnate Word ripped off a 7-0 run. Kelsey Criner tied the game up with a runner on the baseline.

End of the first quarter — UNT is up 23-18 at the end of the first quarter. Tyara Warren hit a 3 late in the period after Incarnate Word had pulled within two. Terra Ellison and Terriell Bradley both have seven points for UNT.

6:06 — UNT is up 27-21 in the second quarter in its game against Incarnate Word here at the Super Pit. Terra Ellison and Terriell Bradley both have seven points for UNT.

Halftime — UNT is up 34-29 on Incarnate Word here at the Super Pit at halftime. The Mean Green have led pretty much the whole way, but Incarnate Word keeps hanging around. Terriell Bradley has 10 points for UNT. The Mean Green have an 18-13 edge on the boards after struggling on the glass in their last game.

6:41 — Incarnate Word is on a 6-0 to pull within 38-35. TO UNT.

5:03 — UNT has steadied itself after Incarnate Word’s run and is up 46-37. The Mean Green are in the midst of an 8-2 burst. Terriell Bradley has 12 points and Terra Ellison 11 for UNT.

Start of the fourth quarter — UNT is up 53-45 at the start of the fourth quarter. UNT has three players in double figures led by Terriell Bradley, who has 12 points. UNT has a 31-19 edge on the boards.

6:31 — UNT is up 61-49. Incarnate Word just took a timeout to save a possession.

2:47 — UNT is about to ice this game and is up 74-52.

Final — UNT 84, Incarnate Word 61.

Michael Sewell Jr. talks about plans, parting ways with UNT

North Texas appeared as if it would add another player from the pipeline it has established with LA Valley Community College in Michael Sewell Jr. a few weeks ago.

The standout safety confirmed on Friday that those plans have fallen through.

Sewell was originally headed to Cal, but ran into trouble qualifying to transfer after his freshman season. He returned to LA Valley for his sophomore season this fall and intercepted four passes to go along with 28 tackles in nine games.

Sewell committed to UNT before the season.

“I haven’t talked to North Texas at all,” Sewell said Friday. “I was committed before the season began. We lost communication. They said they were going to take me. I thought my slot was established. It’s fine. Everything happens for a reason.”

Sewell has offers from New Mexico, Fresno State and UC Davis. He has visited New Mexico and is headed to Fresno State today.

Late-night hoops rewind: UNT 73, Delaware State 40

North Texas guard Allante Holston (5) beats Delaware State’s Kavon Waller (10) to a loose ball during UNT's 73-40 win on Thursday at the Super Pit. (Al Key/For the Denton Record-Chronicle)

North Texas guard Allante Holston (5) beats Delaware State’s Kavon Waller (10) to a loose ball during UNT’s 73-40 win on Thursday at the Super Pit. (Al Key/For the Denton Record-Chronicle)

Final: North Texas 73, Delaware State 40

Where UNT stands: UNT bounced back from a loss to UTA with a win over Delaware State and improved to 5-4 on the season.

Now what?: UNT will take on a Sam Houston State team that is currently 5-3 on Dec. 17.

Holston

Holston

Star of the day: UNT moved Allante Holston into the starting lineup and saw him respond by scoring a season-high 12 points while playing solid perimeter defense Holston has just 18 points in eight games coming into the night. He hit all but one of his six shots and had two dunks in the Mean Green’s win over the Hornets. Jeremy Combs also enjoyed a good outing in his return to the starting lineup after missing four games to rest his surgically repaired ankle. The junior forward scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds. A.J. Lawson scored 13 points off the bench.

Say what?:

“We played together and shared the ball. We didn’t want to settle, mixed it up and got paint touches. We got the ball inside almost every possession.”

– Tony Benford, UNT coach on the Mean Green’s improvement offensively after a tough outing in a loss to UTA

Our take: UNT picked up another win it needed in a game it was supposed to win against Delaware State at the Super Pit.

UNT played really well defensively, but the more interesting aspect of what transpired was the fact the Mean Green looked a whole lot more capable on the offensive end.

UNT looked terrible when it came to putting the ball in the hole in a 77-61 loss to UTA over the weekend. The Mean Green shot just 31.3 percent from the floor and saw three starters – Deckie Johnson, A.J. Lawson and Rickey Brice Jr. — combine to go 1-for-25 from the floor.

UNT focused on moving the ball and getting it inside in practice following the loss and saw  it pay off against Delaware State.

Moving Holston into the starting lineup worked out and Combs continued to look better as he continues his comeback.

UNT-Delaware State running blog

The North Texas men’s basketball team will take on Delaware State tonight at the Super Pit.

UNT comes into tonight’s game off a 77-61 loss to UTA on a night when it couldn’t hit the broad side of Nebraska.

The Mean Green shot 31.3 percent from the field and saw its key players struggle. Deckie Johnson was 1-for-12, A.J. Lawson was 0-for-8 and Rickey Brice Jr. was 0-for-5.

The good news for UNT is that it has won the games it is supposed to for the most part early in the season. This is a full-fledged Division I team, unlike some of UNT’s earlier opponents, but Delaware State is also 2-7.

Jeremy Combs has returned from a short time off to get some additional time to recover from ankle surgery. He went for 21 points and 12 rebounds against UTA.

The Hornets were beaten pretty handily by SMU in their last outing. Devin Morgan, a 5-11 guard, is averaging 14.0 points per game to lead the Hornets.

There are only a couple hundred fans here for this Christmas break hoops fest.

Stay tuned. I will update the blog all game.

Starters for UNT — Reese, Johnson, Brice, Combs, Holston.

15:39 — UNT is up 10-2 at the first media timeout and has looked a whole lot better offensively than it did in its last game. Jeremy Combs has six points for UNT.

11:43 — UNT is up 17-4 at the second media timeout of the first half. Jeremy Combs has six points for UNT, which is shooting 57 percent from the floor so far. Rickey Brice Jr. has two fouls and will probably sit for the rest of the half.

7:16 — We have a game now. Delaware State is on a 12-0 run and has pulled to within 17-14. UNT hasn’t scored in more than seven minutes. Jeremy Combs has six points for UNT. Delaware State has found it here in the last few minutes.

3:38 – UNT is up 24-19 late in the first half. Delaware State has scored the last five points. Jeremy Combs has eight points and is headed to the line. Allante Holston started and has four points.

32.7 — UNT is up 32-21 with time running out in the first half. UNT just called a timeout.

Halftime — UNT is up 32-21 after Delaware State missed its last shot of the half just before the buzzer. Jeremy Combs has 11 points for UNT. The Mean Green shot 48.1 percent in the first half.

15:48 — UNT is on an 8-0 run and is up 40-23 at the first media timeout of the second half. Jeremy Combs has 14 points for the Mean Green. Delaware State hasn’t scored in almost four minutes.

11:44 — UNT is up 44-23 midway through the second half here at the Super Pit. Delaware State has scored a grand total of two points in the second half. Jeremy Combs has 16 points for UNT.

7:34 — UNT is up 57-26 as we head down the stretch in the second half. A.J. Lawson has come back from a tough shooting night in a loss to UTA and has 13 points. Jeremy Combs has 16.

3:45 — Walk-on D.J. Draper just picked up a loose ball, drove to the hole, scored and was fouled. UNT’s bench went nuts. The Mean Green’s bench went nuts. UNT is up 68-34. Jeremy Combs has 16 points to lead UNT.

Final — UNT 70, Delaware State 40.

Chalk talk — UNT to host Delaware State

Rickey Brice Jr. goes up for a shot during North Texas' loss to UTA this week. UNT will take on Delaware State tonight at the Super Pit. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Tomas Gonzalez)

Rickey Brice Jr. goes up for a shot during North Texas’ loss to UTA this week. UNT will take on Delaware State tonight at the Super Pit. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Tomas Gonzalez)

Delaware State at North Texas

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Super Pit, Denton

Radio: KHYI-FM 95.3, KNTU-FM 88.1

Records: UNT 4-4, Delaware State 2-7

Last game: UTA 77, UNT 61; SMU 74, Delaware State 60

Projected UNT starting lineup:

PG: J-Mychal Reese, 6-2, Sr. — Reese played well for UNT in its loss to UTA while scoring 12 points and handing out two assists. The senior hit four of his 10 shots from the field and is now averaging 8.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.

SG: A.J. Lawson, 6-5, Fr. — Lawson endured a tough shooting night against UTA. He missed all eight of his shots from the field, but did hit a pair of free throws for two points. He is averaging 8.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.

SF: Deckie Johnson, 6-4, Sr. — Johnson scored just two points on 1-of-12 shooting for UNT in its loss to UTA. The senior’s two points were a season low. He is averaging 13.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

F: Jeremy Combs, 6-7, Jr. — Combs played well in his first game since Nov. 20 when UNT took on UTA. The junior finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds. He is averaging 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, despite playing with a sore ankle.

C: Rickey Brice 7-1, So. — Brice missed all five of his shots from the field, but did hit three free throws on his way to scoring three points in UNT’s loss to UTA. He is averaging 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds on the season.

Scouting Delaware State: The Hornets have won just one game since a season-opening victory over Summitt on Nov. 11 and are coming off a 74-60 loss to SMU. Delaware State is allowing 76.0 points per game and has struggled defensively. Sophomore guard Devin Morgan is averaging 14.0 points per game to lead the Hornets.

What you need to know: UNT comes into tonight’s game looking to bounce back from a tough outing against UTA, when the Mean Green really struggled to score. UNT shot just 31.3 percent from the field and saw most of its key offensive players struggle.

Johnson is typically an efficient scorer from the perimeter, but couldn’t buy a bucket against UTA. Johnson, Brice, and Lawson combined to go 1-for-25 from the field in the Mean Green’s loss to the Mavericks.

UNT isn’t going to beat many teams when those three struggle to score.

Here is a link to the advance in today’s paper that focuses on Lawson and how he has worked through the adjustment to playing at the college level.

 

Breaking — Goree to SFA

North Texas wide receiver Terian Goree runs after catching a pass in the Mean Green's loss to Louisiana Tech earlier this season.  Goree has left the program and intends to enroll at Stephen F. Austin. (DRC file photo)

North Texas wide receiver Terian Goree runs after catching a pass in the Mean Green’s loss to Louisiana Tech earlier this season. Goree has left the program and intends to enroll at Stephen F. Austin. (DRC file photo)

Former North Texas wide receiver Terrian Goree has cut ties with the school and plans to enroll at Stephen F. Austin.

Goree was one of UNT’s top offensive weapons throughout his time with the Mean Green. He caught 36 passes for 328 yards and two touchdowns this season.

UNT announced that Goree and fellow wide receiver Willie Robinson had been suspended before a key win over Southern Miss on Nov. 19.

A source with knowledge of the situation indicated that Goree’s status at UNT would be determined following the season.

Goree confirmed to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Wednesday afternoon that he will not return to UNT.

“I am planning to enroll at SFA,” Goree said. “I have cut ties with North Texas.”

Goree will be eligible next season at SFA.

The former Carthage standout is among the highest rated players to sign with the Mean Green in recent years. Goree passed on several offers from Power Five conference schools to sign with UNT.

“I enjoyed my time at North Texas,” Goree said. “I made a lot of memories there. The coaches have it going the right direction. I don’t have anything against anyone.”

Goree declined to detail the reasons for his departure.

The loss of Goree hurts UNT as it prepares to face Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Dec. 27. Goree caught a 34-yard touchdown pass in UNT’s win over the Black Knights earlier this year.

The long-term effects of Goree’s departure could also linger. UNT will also lose senior wide receivers Thaddeous Thompson and Kenny Buyers to graduation after this season.

Both Thompson and Buyers are starters. Thompson has caught 40 passes for 524 yards. Both totals are team highs.

Buyers has 31 catches for 314 yards.

Goree started the first 10 games of the season.

UNT will now enter the 2017 season without their top three receivers from this season based on current statistics.

UNT opens as a big underdog in bowl game

North Texas running back Jeffery Wilson could be back at full strength when the Mean Green take on Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Jeff Woo)

North Texas running back Jeffery Wilson could be back at full strength when the Mean Green take on Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Jeff Woo)

North Texas opened as a huge underdog in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Vegas Insider has Army listed as a nine-point favorite, which brings up a good point: This game could be a tough one in terms of having any idea of how it will play out.

Does anyone have a clue what UNT will bring to the table at this point. A couple of quick points here:

– UNT played its last two games without quarterback Mason Fine due to a shoulder injury. He should be ready to go in the bowl game, but Alec Morris played well at times in place of him. Does UNT stick with Morris, go back to Fine, play both?

– Is Jeffery Wilson going to be back at 100 percent, or anywhere close to it. We have maintained that UNT goes as Wilson goes throughout the season. That changed a bit late in the year, but UNT will have a whole lot better chance to beat Army if he is healthy. Wilson didn’t look like himself in the Mean Green’s loss to UTEP to end the regular season. UNT was drilled in that game.

– UNT forced seven turnovers in its win over Army, which fumbled the ball seven times. The Black Knights played one of their worst games of the season against the Mean Green. Army will no doubt be ready for UNT this time around.

– And what about Army’s level of interest? The Black Knights will be playing in a rare bowl game and will be out for revenge. But will they be motivated after facing Navy this weekend?

– Will Army have a better handle on UNT’s offense? The Mean Green managed just 320 yards against the Black Knights. Everyone knows what to expect when they play Army. The Black Knights will come out ahead after facing UNT earlier in the year.

– UNT will also be without wide receiver Terrian Goree, who caught a touchdown pass in the Mean Green’s win in the last time.

– The crowd could also play a factor. UNT will be playing essentially a home game and drew north of 35,000 to the Cotton Bowl the last time around. Will that make a big difference in this game.

It’s a lot to consider and points to one simple fact — UNT;s game against Army is one that is going to be tough to gauge.

Keena, McClain named All-Conference USA

Conference USA announced its all-league team today.

UNT had one player named to the first team in punter Eric Keena. Kishawn McClain was a second-team pick.

Quarterback Mason Fine and defensive lineman LaDarius Hamilton were named to the All-Freshman Team.

UNT-Indiana running blog

The North Texas women’s basketball team will take on Indiana here at the Super Pit this morning.

UNT doesn’t get a shot at hosting a Big Ten team very often. It’s an opportunity UNT received largely because Indiana has former Denton Guyer standout Bre Wickware on the roster.

Indiana wanted to bring her home to play in front of her family. It’s a pretty common practice. UNT will visit Indiana next year.

In a fun side note, Tosin Mabodu grew up in Chicago and used to face star Indiana guard Tyra Buss every once in a while in high school and on the AAU circuit. That was the subject of our advance in the paper today.

UNT has lost two straight and is 2-5. Unfortunately for the Mean Green, Indiana has also lost two straight and will be out for blood today.

UNT is going to be at a pretty big disadvantage today in terms of size. That’s what hurt the Mean Green in their loss to SMU a few days ago. UNT turned around and lost to Tulsa in its next outing.

Stay tuned. I will update the blog all day.

Starters for UNT — Adams, Criner, Ellison, Mabodu and Bradley.

End of the first quarter — UNT trailed by 16 early, but closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run to pull with in 20-15.

4:44 — Indiana is up 35-18 in the first half and is pretty much running UNT out of the gym.

2:05 — Indiana is up 43-20 late in the first half. UNT just took a timeout. Kelsey Criner has six points to lead the Mean Green.

Halftime — UNT is down 49-22 at halftime here against Indiana. Kelesy Criner has six points for UNT, which scored just seven points in the second quarter. Tyra Buss and Alexis Gassion both have 11 points and four assist for Indiana.The Hoosiers are shooting 70.4 percent (19 of 27) from the floor.

4:51 — UNT is down 63-33 in the third quarter. Tyra Buss has 19 points for Indiana. Terra Ellison has eight for UNT.

1:21 — UNT is on a 12-0 run and has pulled to within 20 at 65-45. Kelsey Criner and Grace Goodhart have both hit 3s in the run. Criner has 13 points for UNT. Indiana just took a timeout.

End of the third quarter — Indiana has steadied itself and is up 70-47 heading into the fourth quarter of its game against Indiana. Kelsey Criner has 15 points for UNT. Indiana is still shooting almost 65 percent from the field.

4:58 — Indiana is cruising to the finish here at the Super Pit. The Hoosiers lead 83-50. Kelsey Criner has 16 for UNT. Indiana has pulled its starters. Former Denton Guyer standout Bre Wickware is in the game and has three points. UNT tried to recruit her.

Final — Indiana 94, UNT 64