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Mean Green Win OT Thriller vs. UNI

Coach Andy Mac

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DENTON – The UNT men’s basketball team defeated Northern Iowa 83-77 in overtime on Tuesday in one of the most thrilling Mean Green season openers in recent memory. The win was first-year head coach Ross Hodge’s first career victory.

North Texas junior Aaron Scott scored a career-high 26 points in the home win and newcomer Jason Edwards added 19 to lead the Mean Green in scoring. Edwards made five free throws in the final 32 seconds of overtime to seal the victory. 

Senior Rubin Jones scored 15 and tied his career high with five steals.

“Incredibly thankful for the crowd tonight,” said Hodge of the 4,145 total fans and 1,602 students in attendance to see his first victory. “(UNI’s) toughness and experience showed tonight, especially in the first half. In the second half we were better in grabbing the 50-50 balls and kind of looked like the defense we’re used to playing. And I’m proud our team’s resolve. We’re going to have to figure out how to close out games, because again their experience showed late in the second half.”

Thanks to a blistering 9-of-11 shooting from deep to start the game, North Texas (1-0) led 38-36 at the half, despite not quite looking as crisp on defense.

In the second half the lead grew to as many as 11 points over the Panthers (0-1). But after Scott scored his then career-high 20th point on a 10-foot fadeaway with 7:04 left in regulation, UNT was held without a field goal for the remainder of regulation. Then with 1:42 remaining in regulation, UNI took a one-point lead. Its first lead of the second half. 

Free throws kept the Mean Green in the game down the stretch and then in the final seconds of regulation with the game tied UNT stopped the Panthers on two final shots on one possession to send the game into overtime, tied 68-68.

 “When we come back and watch the film we have to watch it through the lens as if their last shot went in,” Hodge said. “I wouldn’t be here soaking wet (from celebrating). We would be sitting here talking about how we got beat on an offensive rebound. But I think that’s what great teams do. They process it and they continue to get better, because we can get so much better.

“But of course, it’s great to learn and win and the same time.”

In overtime, North Texas won the tip, scored on the first possession, and never looked back.

UNT has now won four straight overtime games dating back to last season. They made 14 of its final 15 free throw attempts — 10 of 11 in overtime — to secure the first win of the season and of the Ross Hodge era.

The Mean Green are back in action on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT as they host Omaha at the Super Pit.

For more information on UNT men’s basketball season tickets, contact the Mean Green Ticket Office at 940-565-2527 or at ticketoffice@unt.edu. Fans can visit the UNT Athletics Ticket Office located at Gate 2 of DATCU Stadium between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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I believe the attendance number in the story is a typo, with two numbers transposed.  I've seen 4415 in the box scores and that's the number I'm going with.  Last night was the 3rd highest attended regular season game of the last 2+ seasons.  LaTech had 8,522 two seasons ago and WKU had 5,002 last season.  Off to a good start.


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