Breaking news — Jareid Combs commits to UNT

Combs

Iowa JC defensive end Jereid Combs has committed to UNT.

Combs informed the Denton Record-Chronicle of his decision late this afternoon.

UNT head coach Dan McCarney and defensive line coach Kevin Patrick conducted a visit with Combs and his family on Monday.

Memphis was the other school Combs was considering in the last few days.

Combs talked a little about why he considered UNT the leader for his commitment a few days ago.

Combs joins Navarro College cornerback Paul Banks III as the two latest additions to UNT’s class.

Combs was an honorable mention NJCAA All-American last season when he finished with 17 sacks.

Check back for more.

Monday afternoon recruiting notes (Combs update)

Combs

UNT landed one of its key remaining recruiting targets this afternoon when Navarro JC cornerback Paul Banks III committed to play for the Mean Green.

UNT will have to wait at least one more day to find out if another JUCO player it is targeting will head to Denton for the final two years of his college career.

Jareid Combs, a highly regarded defensive end from Iowa Central Community College, hosted both UNT head coach Dan McCarney and defensive line coach Kevin Patrick today on an in-home visit.

The 6-3, 248-pound Georgia native who earned honorable mention NJCAA All-American honors last season, expects to make a decision tomorrow.

“Coach Mac and coach Patrick came and met my family,” Combs said. “It went pretty well. They have been up to visit before. My aunt and uncle met them and liked them.”

Combs’ family will play a role in his final decision.

“I will sit down and talk with my family and decide,” Combs said.

UNT and Memphis are the two teams still in contention to land Combs, who finished with 17 sacks last season. Here are his Hudl highlights.

The Mean Green had a productive defensive line last season, but are looking to upgrade their talent and have invested a lot of time recruiting Combs over the last month.

We went over how Combs would fit in at UNT and help upgrade its roster earlier this month.

All signs point to Combs signing with UNT. The fact McCarney and Patrick have spent time with the family bodes well for the Mean Green.

And in a couple of side notes …

Houston linebacker Jordan Williams has committed to SMU. Williams had an offer from UNT at one point.

Justin Sandifer, a JUCO offensive lineman who visited UNT, has committed to East Carolina.

 

JUCO CB Paul Banks III commits to UNT

Paul Banks III, a cornerback from Navarro College, announced today that he has committed to UNT.

We went over Banks’ background a few days ago after he officially visited UNT.

Banks is the cousin of former UNT tight end Robert Harmon, who lettered for the Mean Green in the final season of the Mean Green’s run of four straight Sun Belt Conference championship teams. Harmon lettered for UNT from 2004-06.

Banks was recruited by Texas Tech and was waiting to see if the Red Raiders would offer. Texas Tech never put an offer on the table, leaving Banks with only one scholarship opportunity — his offer from UNT.

The situation is one Banks felt comfortable with after getting to know UNT’s coaches and players.

“I was No. 1 on their board and I didn’t want to wait,” Banks said. “I felt really welcome and they really wanted me.”

UNT returns starting cornerback Kenny Buyers, but lost its other starting corner James Jones, a second-team All-Conference USA selection. The Mean Green targeted a number of junior college players to fill the void and eventually settled on Banks.

“I feel like I could play right away,” Banks said. “They want me to compete for James Jones’ spot.”

UNT has loaded up on junior college players in its 2015 class. The Mean Green signed six JUCO transfers at midterm and added a seventh in Banks.

The Mean Green might not be done adding two-year players.

UNT’s coaching staff is set to visit with key JUCO defensive end target Jareid Combs this afternoon. Combs told me over the weekend that he was leaning heavily toward committing to UNT this afternoon.

UNT basketball Monday notes, tidbits

North Texas forward Colin Voss (33) shoots over Southern Mississippi forward Michael O'Donnell during the Mean Green’s loss to the Golden Eagles on Satuday at the Super Pit (Denton Record-Chronicle/Kristen Watson)

The UNT men’s basketball team experienced a bit of an up-and-down week and will now have a few days off. The Mean Green return to action on Saturday with a home game against Rice.

UNT posted arguably its best win of the season on Thursday, when it hit 15 of its first 17 shots from the field and then hung on to beat Louisiana Tech 73-66. The Bulldogs were 5-0 in Conference USA play before running into UNT.

UNT has four players finish with 16 points in one of its best offensive outings of the season.

Sean Isabella of the Monroe News-Star caught up with Louisiana Tech coach Michael White this morning, when White commented on UNT’s hot start in the Mean Green’s 73-66 win. The Mean Green snapped the Bulldogs’ nine-game winning streak in the series that dated back to 1986.

UNT turned right around and lost in overtime to Southern Miss, which was riding a nine-game losing streak.

The question now is how UNT responds and if it can start stringing together some wins to move out of the C-USA basement. UNT heads into the week at 8-11 overall and 2-5 in C-USA play. The Mean Green are only a game out of last place and a game back of UTSA and Rice, which are tied for seventh.

Combs watch

One of the tough aspects of UNT’s loss to Southern Miss was that star freshman Jeremy Combs had a chance to ice the game. UNT was up 62-59 when Combs went to the line with 10.6 seconds left and missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity.

Southern Miss forward Norville Carey nailed a 3 on the ensuing possession to send the game into overtime, when Southern Miss pulled away. Combs finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. UNT wouldn’t have been in the game had it not been for Combs, who has now scored in double figures in four of UNT’s last five games.

UNT needs the former Carter standout to continue to play well. The hope is he quickly gets over a missed opportunity.

My guess is that he will.

Brice earns honorable POW mention in DMN

UNT signee Rickey Brice, a 7-0 center from Arlington Pantego Christian, was an honorable mention selection in The Dallas Morning NewsPlayer of the Week listings today.

Brice averaged 28.5 points in two games last week. He was at UNT’s loss to Southern Miss.

Considering UNT is losing both Colin Voss and Armani Flannigan to graduation after this season, the development of Brice is vital. UNT’s staff is convinced he is going to be ready to contribute immediately.

UNT will need Brice to be ready. Voss is averaging 7.9 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, which doesn’t sound like much. The JUCO transfer’s contributions are a whole lot more vital than they appear, though.

Voss has scored in double figures eight times in UNT’s 19 games, more than any other player on the roster other than Jordan Williams, who has only failed to reach double figures once.

Other than Williams, Voss is UNT’s most consistent player and will leave a huge void, one the Mean Green hopes Brice can help fill.

Sunday night recruiting wrap

We have preempted the normal Sunday Night Leftovers to return to the subject everyone really cares about these days anyway — football recruiting.

It was a huge weekend for the Mean Green in terms of commitments, flips, official visitors and impending decisions.

First of all a quick review of the material we covered in today’s recruiting blog:

– UNT picked up a commitment from three-star wide receiver D’Aundrey Bradley, a Cedar Hill product who was committed to New Mexico. Bradley is easily one of UNT’s top prospects on the board now.

Eli Howard also re-committed to UNT after decommitting in December.

– Oklahoma defensive lineman DeMikal Harrison committed to UTEP, although UNT has offered and is looking to make a late run at him.

– JUCO defensive end Jareid Combs visited, but didn’t commit.

– JUCO cornerback Paul Banks III also left town without committing, but should decide in the next day or so what his plans are. They all hinge on whether or not Texas Tech offers.

All told, UNT really helped itself today. Bradley is one of the top players on the Mean Green’s board at this point. He’s a legit three-star prospect who had some offers from some good programs and is from Cedar Hill, a school where UNT could stand to get its foot in the door.

Howard is also a solid player and a good prospect who plays on the defensive line, where UNT has struggled to recruit in the past.

Those two players make UNT’s class look a whole lot better.

Bradley was also a player who flipped to UNT, which is something that has rarely happened over the years. Usually, players flip to other schools.

At this point all the UNT fans who complain incessantly about players flipping will have to have a little more perspective. It isn’t 1972. We don’t find out who commits on signing day. There isn’t much hope of that super secret prospect that no one knows about turning up, signing and changing everything.

It’s 2015.

Recruiting is an open market. Players and schools look for their best options. UNT has flipped players, lost players and dropped players.

That’s the way it works.

It’s not like oral commitments are some blood oath.

As far as where UNT goes from here, I would be stunned if Combs isn’t committed to the Mean Green by tomorrow night. UNT defensive line coach Kevin Patrick has clearly put in the work and sold Combs on UNT. Once the Mean Green’s staff has its in-home visit, this should be wrapped up pretty quickly. Memphis is still in the picture, but appears to be the only threat.

UNT also has a shot with Harrison, but not nearly as good a shot as it has with Combs. UNT offered late. UTEP got him in on an official visit and landed a commitment.

UTEP has a solid program and played in a bowl last season.

I know that Mean Green fans think that UNT and Denton are some sort of utopia and that El Paso and Ruston and anywhere else on the planet don’t really compare, but you have to take into account personal bias.

There are good and bad aspects of Denton and UNT just like any other school. Just because UNT offered Harrison, it’s doesn’t mean he’s going to just up and flip.

UNT does have a shot, though, due to the fact it’s a whole lot closer to home than UTEP.

I also think Paul Banks III ends up committing to UNT in the next few days. UNT has had him in on a visit. Texas Tech is sniffing around and doesn’t have a cornerback on the board, but it’s also Jan. 25.

My guess is that if the Red Raiders were going to offer, they would have done it by now. If they do surprise and offer, my guess is Banks is on the next plane to Lubbock.

UNT has been hunting and hunting for a JUCO corner to replace James Jones. It looks like Banks is the Mean Green’s guy.

In the end I think UNT gets him.

Sunday afternoon recruiting running blog

There are exactly two Sundays left before national signing day, so you know what that means. It’s time for the return of the Sunday afternoon recruiting notes running blog.

I will be running through my cell minutes at a frightening rate this afternoon to see where UNT stands by the end of the day.

First off, Oklahoma defensive lineman DeMikal Harrison …

I have a feeling this might not be a done deal, though.

Harrison informed me this morning that UNT has offered him a scholarship. The question is if UNT’s window of opportunity has closed. Harrison told me last week that if UNT offered he would visit and at that point, it would be between UNT and UTEP.

So now the question is this — Will UNT’s late offer be enough to convince Harrison to come to Denton before national signing day?

It’s a possibility Harrison told me today that he is considering. He said he’d get back to me.

If he does, I’ll be sure to post an update.

Update 1:07 – D’Aundrey Bradley II has informed me that he has committed to UNT.

Update 1:18 – I just got off the phone with D’Aundrey Bradley, a wide receiver from Cedar Hill, who was committed to New Mexico for about a week. Bradley is a three-star prospect. He said that UNT was just a better fit for him than New Mexico because of its solid combination of academic support and a solid program. Location also played a big part. Going to UNT will allow Bradley to stay closer to home. UNT was looking for another high school wide receiver in this class. Bradley looks like he has filled that slot.

Update 1:31 – Demikal Harrison called me back just a few moments ago. He seems pretty sold on UTEP at this point.

“UTEP is a beautiful place and told me that I will play right away,” Harrison said. “I will discuss whether I want to take another visit with my high school coaches and parents.”

In a side note, he said that UNT was looking for a junior college defensive lineman who could play right away.

Update 1:36 – One of the interesting aspects of talking to recruits is that you sometimes pick up some tidbits on other prospects who were in over the weekend. It appears as if UNT isn’t out of it for San Angelo Central defensive lineman Eli Howard, a one-time UNT commit who backed up quite a while ago. It appears as if he was in over the weekend and might have recommitted to UNT. I have reached out to Howard, but have not heard back yet.

Update 1:48 – Key JUCO defensive line target Jareid Combs just boarded his plane on the way back to Iowa, but he did inform me via text message that he has yet to commit to UNT, or any other school for that matter. That is all I know now, but I am supposed to talk to him later. I’m sure UNT would have liked to have locked him up before he left town.

Update 4:50 — Jareid Combs has made it back to Iowa Central JC after his visit to UNT this weekend.

“It was fun,” Combs said. “I liked it. The campus and the coaches were really cool.”

UNT defensive tackle Calvin “Z-ro” Wallace hosted Combs, who is one of UNT’s top remaining targets. The defensive end will likely make a decision tomorrow between UNT and Memphis.

“UNT is on top,” Combs said. “It seems like a good fit for me, but I want to talk it over with my family.”

Combs is from the South originally and would like to return to a warmer state after spending the end of his high school career in Minnesota and two years at Iowa Central.

UNT defensive line coach Kevin Patrick has quickly developed a solid relationship with Combs.

UNT’s coaches will visit with Combs tomorrow. It appears that unless something unforeseen takes place, Combs will soon join UNT’s class.

Update 5:15 – Paul Banks III will make a decision on where he will continue his college career on Monday night. We talked to Banks a few days ago about his background and what he was looking for in his next stop.

“It was cool and really laid back,” Banks said of his visit to UNT. “I enjoyed my time hanging out with the guys.”

What it comes down to is if Texas Tech will offer Banks. The Red Raiders have been recruiting Banks over the last few weeks.

“North Texas and Texas Tech are my two options,” Banks said. “I am getting to the point where I need to make a decision.”

UNT appears to be in good position to land Banks, as long as the Red Raiders don’t come in at the last minute and offer.

Update 6:00 – Eli Howard is back in the fold at North Texas. The San Angelo Central defensive end committed to UNT before backing out to examine his options. He recommitted after a weekend visit to the school.

“I went to Tulsa and looked around, but North Texas was the best fit,” Howard said. “The coaches made me feel like it was the best place for me.”

Update 6:45 – UNT has only a few scholarship spots left in its 2015 signing class. Parish Episcopal linebacker William LeMasters is hoping that some late movement could leave him with a spot.

The private school standout visited UNT over the weekend and has also received interest from UTSA, New Mexico and Central Arkansas. Marist has offered a scholarship and will host LeMasters before national signing day.

UNT’s staff told LeMasters that they needed to load up on offensive linemen in 2015 and might not have a scholarship for him initially. UNT did offer a preferred walk-on spot.

“I am keeping my options open,” LeMasters said. “I like North Texas. They preached that I would have an equal opportunity.

“UNT and Marist are my two favorite options.”

A couple of Sunday morning recruiting tidbits

There was a little movement the last day or so on the recruiting front when it comes to UNT targets.

I will be on the phone this afternoon after UNT’s key targets wrap up their visits. We went over who’s in town in our recruiting visit primer

The key prospects in town this weekend are Iowa Central JC defensive end Jereid Combs and Navarro JC cornerback Paul Banks III.

As far as other prospects go, De’rren Wilson, a wide receiver from Greenville, committed to Central Florida. He was committed to SMU at one point.

Lake Dallas standout Josiah Tauaefa committed to UTSA. He was a hot topic among UNT fans. It will be interesting to see how he fares down in San Antonio.

Tauaefa was a good high school player. The question will be how he transitions to the college game and where he plays, defensive tackle, defensive end or fullback.

At 6-1, 245, he’s already about the perfect size for a fullback and UTSA uses one in its offense. I have a feeling that might be where he ends up.

And finally, UNT recruiting target DeMikal Harrison was at UTEP this weekend on his second official visit. The question now is if UNT will offer him and if he will visit before national signing day. UNT is a little closer to home, which appears as if it could be a key draw for Harrison.

Late night hoops rewind — Southern Miss 75, UNT 71

North Texas guard Jordan Williams (23) heads to the basket on a breakaway past Southern Miss guard Rasham Suarez on Saturday at the Super Pit. Williams finished with 19 points and moved into 10th place on UNT’s career scoring list. (Denton Record-Chronicle/Kristen Watson)

Final: Southern Miss 75, North Texas 71 (OT)

Where UNT stands: UNT fell to 8-11 overall and 2-5 in Conference USA play

Now what?: UNT will finish off a three-game homestand next week with a game against Rice. The Mean Green picked up one of its two wins in C-USA play against the Owls on the road earlier this season.

Williams

Star of the day: Senior guard Jordan Williams moved into 10th place on UNT’s career scoring list after scoring 19 points against Southern Miss. Williams hit four 3-pointers and pushed his career point total to 1,341, moving him past Leonard Hopkins, who scored 1,340 points from 2002-05. UNT’s staring small forward has scored in double figures in all but one of the Mean Green’s games this season. He has a run of 14 straight double figure games after his performance against Southern Miss.

Say what?

“It’s disappointing. We put ourselves in position to move up and get into the thick of things. We came out tonight and just did not get it done. If you don’t rebound and take care of the basketball, you are going to be in trouble. Despite that we had a chance to win. We just didn’t get the job done.”

– Tony Benford, UNT coach

Our take: UNT had high hopes that it was about to get something going late in the season following an upset win over Louisiana Tech on Thursday. The possibility certainly seemed to be there. Southern Miss hadn’t won a Conference USA game all season, had lost nine straight and didn’t seem to have a lot to play for after the school announced earlier in the week that it was imposing a postseason ban as it investigates alleged rules violations within the program.

Southern Miss came out swinging anyway and rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit. UNT has struggled in the second half at times this season and nearly coughed up a 21-point lead in its win over Louisiana Tech.

UNT coach Tony Benford addressed the question of what his team’s second-half issue is after the game, saying that the Mean Green follow the same routine every game. They sit down review the scouting report, make adjustments and try to build on what they did early in games — if they played well.

UNT did play well early, but couldn’t hold on late. The Mean Green had a chance to ice the game late. Colin Voss hit a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left to give UNT a 62-59 lead. Southern Miss guard Chip Armelin missed a 3 with 13 seconds left.

Jeremy Combs grabbed the rebound and was fouled. The freshman missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, which opened the door for the Golden Eagles. Southern Miss capitalized when Norville Carey, who had made just three 3s all year, nailed one in the closing seconds.

UNT was still in the game in overtime until Carey hit a jumper and Armelin nailed a 3 in the span of 14 seconds with less than two minutes left to give Southern Miss a 72-68 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Benford and his players blamed 17 turnovers and the 17 offensive rebounds it gave up as the reason UNT lost. That certainly didn’t help. Neither did scoring only 10 points over the last 11:14 of regulation.

UNT is a defensive-oriented team, but sometimes it helps to put the ball in the hole.

The Mean Green will look to improve over the next week before facing Rice, a game that offers an opportunity to rebound. UNT has already beaten the Owls and will have a chance to recover from its loss to the Golden Eagles before a tough road trip to Western Kentucky and Marshall.

UNT has always had a tough time winning at Diddle Arena, even when the Mean Green had a consistent winner at the end of UNT’s time in the Sun Belt. It would really help the Mean Green to head into that game against the Hilltoppers off a win.

UNT-Southern Miss preview/running blog

UNT will take on Southern Miss at the Super Pit tonight, when the Mean Green will look to build on a huge win over Louisiana Tech on Thursday.

Louisiana Tech was a perfect 5-0 in Conference USA before UNT exploded to hit 15 of its first 17 shots to take a 21-point lead it just barely managed to hang on to late to close out the win.

UNT essentially has a chance to dig itself out of the hole it created earlier in the season over the next couple of weeks.

Southern Miss lost everybody from its NIT team last season, including its coach Donnie Tyndall.

To make matters worse, Southern Miss announced earlier it the week that it will not play in the postseason this year, a self-imposed penalty stemming from an investigation into rules violations in the program.

The good news for UNT goes beyond the fact the Mean Green come in off a big win, it also looks like DeAndre Harris will be back tonight. He was suspended indefinitely for being tossed twice in the span of four games. He has missed UNT’s last two games, but was dressed out when UNT came out a couple of minutes ago.

Harris gives UNT another option offensively.

Southern Miss is led by guards Matt Bingaya and Chip Armelin, who are averaging 14.2 and 13.1 points a game, respectively.

We went over the matchup in detail in Chalk Talk last night.

Stay tuned. I will update the blog all night.

Tipoff — UNT starters: Combs, Voss, Williams, Taylor, Aniefiok.

15:18 — UNT is off to a good start and is up 11-8 at the first media timeout. Jordan Williams has five points.

12:07 — DeAndre Harris is in. That answers our question as to if he will play today.

11:58 — UNT is up 17-10 as we approach the midway point of the first half. T.J. Taylor just hit a 3 after driving right to the arc and pulling up. Southern Miss is as bad as advertised. Jordan Williams is off to a good start and has six points already.

7:46 — Jeremy Combs just made a terrific play to pick up a charge. UNT is up 22-16 late in the first half. Jordan Williams has six points and Maurice Aniefiok five. UNT is shooting it well early for the second straight. The Mean Green have hit 56 percent of their shots from the floor.

3:16 — UNT is up 29-24 at the final media timeout of the first half. Southern Miss pulled to within 26-24 before Maurice Aniefiok hit a corner 3 to push the Mean Green’s lead back out to 29-24. Chip Armelin has 12 points already for Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have hit four of their first six 3-point attempts.

49.8 — UNT has called its use-it, or lose-it 30-second timeout in the closing seconds of the first half to set something up on its final possession. UNT is up 32-27.

35.4 — UNT just scored on a well-executed screen that freed Colin Voss for a free-throw line jumper. UNT is up 34-27. TO Southern Miss.

Halftime — UNT is up 37-29 at halftime after Maurice Aniefiok hit a 3 from the wing at the buzzer. Jordan Williams has nine points for UNT. Maurice Aniefiok and Jeremy Combs both have eight points. UNT got off to a good start and had a nine-point lead. Southern Miss closed to within two before Aniefiok hit a couple of late 3s. UNT has been good in the first half and bad in the second this year. We will have to see if that trend continues today.

14:29 — UNT went on a 9-1 run early in the second half and had a 14-point lead. Southern Miss has come back with five straight and has cut the Mean Green’s edge to 46-37. Jordan Williams has 15 points for UNT. Maurice Aniefiok and Jeremy Combs both have 11. UNT is still shooting 56 percent from the field.

11:20 — UNT is still up 50-43 as we near the midway point of the second half. Southern Miss closed to within five at 48-43 behind an 11-2 run. Todd Eaglin answered with a running bank shot to stretch the lead back to seven. Jordan Williams has 15 points for UNT. The Mean Green have three players in double figures. Jeremy Combs (13) and Maurice Aniefiok (11) also have scored in double figures.

7:53 — Southern Miss has pulled to within 52-48 as we head down the stretch in the second half. The Golden Eagles will have the ball coming out of this timeout. UNT has three turnovers in the last 2:37.

6:00 — UNT is up 53-48 late in the second half and just took a timeout. UNT will have the ball coming out of this timeout and could use a couple of buckets to create some separation. Jordan Williams has 15 points, while Jeremy Combs has 14.

4:15 — UNT is hanging on 55-52. Southern Miss was within one, but T.J. Taylor hit a baseline pull-up to push the led back to 3. TO USM

3:43 — We are all tied up at 55 late in the second half. Jeremy Combs is headed to the line for UNT. Matt Bingaya converted a three-point play to tie things up for Southern Miss. Armani Flannigan and Colin Voss both have four fouls for UNT. Jordan Williams has 15 points for the Mean Green.

2:27 — This game was all tied up at 60-57 after Jordan Williams hit a deep 3 that put him in the top 10 in UNT history in scoring. Southern Miss got off a shot on its last possession and missed. The ball went out off UNT.

1:19 — UNT is up 60-59 and just took a timeout. Michael O’Donnell just scored off an offensive rebound for Southern Miss.

46.0 — UNT ended up with a deep 3 from Jordan Williams on its last possession. The shot came up short. Southern Miss called a timeout and will have the ball with a chance to go up. UNT leads 60-59. Chip Armelin has been the Golden Eagles’ best option tonight.

23.0 — Southern Miss had a shot in the lane and missed it. Colin Voss grabbed the board and hit two free throws. UNT 62-59. TO UNT.

Overtime — Jeremy Combs missed the front end of a one-and-one and Southern Miss tied it up Norville Carey 3 with about three seconds left. T.J. Taylor got a heave off just before the buzzer, but missed it. We are headed to overtime.

2:44 — Southern Miss scored the first points of overtime, but UNT has answered with a Maurice Aniefiok jumper and a TJ Taylor floater. UNT leads 66-64. TO Southern Miss. UNT has played well defensively in overtime so far.

1:49 — Chip Armelin just hit an NBA 3 to put Southern Miss up 67-66. Jordan Williams missed a corner 3, but UNT grabbed the rebound. Jeremy Combs is headed to the line.

1:48 — We are all tied up at 67. Jordan Williams is headed to the line.

57.0 — Southern Miss has scored the last five points to go up 72-68. Chip Armelin just hit a huge 3 for Southern Miss. TO UNT.

34.5 — Chip Armelin hit a free throw. Jordan Williams missed at the rim, but the ball went out to UNT. 73-68 USM. TO UNT. The Mean Green don’t have to have a 3 right here, just a quick bucket.

Final — Southern Miss 75, UNT 71. Killer loss for UNT. I will be back.

Chalk talk — Southern Miss at UNT

Junior forward Muhammed Ahmed and the UNT men's basketball team will look to build on a key win over Louisiana Tech today when they take on Southern Miss (Denton Record-Chronicle/David Minton)

Southern Miss at UNT

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Super Pit

Radio: KNTU-FM 88.1, KHYI-FM 95.3

Records: UNT 8-10, 2-4 C-USA, Southern Miss 5-12, 0-6 C-USA

Last game: UNT 73, Louisiana Tech 66

Projected UNT starting lineup:

PG: Todd Eaglin, 5-10 Jr. — 2.9 points, 1.6 rebounds a game, 31 assists on the season. Eaglin made his fifth straight start in UNT’s win over Louisiana Tech and finished with three points in 13 minutes.

SG: Maurice Aniefiok, 6-5 Jr. — 7.4 points, 3.1 rebounds a game, shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range, 25 assists, 17 steals on the season. Aniefiok finished with four points in 37 minutes against the Bulldogs in UNT’s last game.

SF: Jordan Williams, 6-6 Sr. — 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds a game, 41 assists, 30 steals on the season. Williams scored 16 points in UNT’s win over Louisiana Tech and hit a number of key shots down the stretch.

F: Jeremy Combs, 6-7, Fr. — 9.6 points, 6.4 rebounds a game, shooting 57.8 percent from the field, but just 45.9 percent from the free-throw line. Combs has scored in double figures in three of UNT’s last four games and tallied 16 points in the Mean Green’s win over Louisiana Tech. The freshman hit a putback in the closing seconds to ice the game for UNT

F: Colin Voss, 6-7, Sr. — 7.9 points, 5.9 rebounds a game, shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 75.0 percent from the line, 24 assists on the season. Voss scored 16 points in UNT’s win over Louisiana Tech and hit six of his 10 shots from the field.

Scouting Southern Miss:

Southern Miss has lost nine straight and announced earlier in the week that it has it has self-imposed a one-year postseason ban on the program for alleged violations under former coach Donnie Tyndall. Guards Matt Bingaya (14.2) and Chip Armelin (13.1) are both averaging double figures in scoring for the Golden Eagles.

Who’s hot:

Jeremy Combs finished with 16 points in UNT’s win over Louisiana Tech, his third game in double figures in the Mean Green’s last four games. Combs also tallied a season-high 13 rebounds against the Bulldogs and posted a double-double for the second time in UNT’s last three games.

What you need to know:

UNT needs to grab the momentum it established in its win over Louisiana Tech and continue to dig its way out of the hole it dropped into while losing six of its previous seven games. The Mean Green picked up another big win earlier this season, knocking of Creighton at home. UNT turned right around and lost to Prairie View A&M.

UNT coach Tony Benford said that he believes the Mean Green have matured since that loss.

One of the more encouraging aspects of its win over Louisiana Tech for UNT  was the fact it was a whole lot more efficient offensively than it has been at times this season. UNT hit 15 of its first 17 shots from the field and built a 21-point lead.

UNT nearly squandered that big advantage in the second half, but managed to hang on. The Mean Green will look to show the same form they displayed early on in their game against Louisiana Tech  against Southern Miss.

If the Mean Green can win today — and they should — it would push UNT to 3-4 in conference play heading into a winnable home game against Rice next week. A 4-4 record in conference play would look awfully good to UNT considering where it was not too long ago at 1-4.