Men's College Basketball

UC Riverside (5-8) at North Texas (8-5)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 3 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: The Super Pit (10,032) -- Denton, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: UCR 4-3, UNT 6-1. Away Record: UCR 1-5, UNT 2-2. Neutral Record: UCR 0-0, UNT 0-2. Conference Record: UCR 0-0, UNT 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.

GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the UC Riverside Highlanders and the North Texas Mean Green is set to take place on Saturday afternoon in Denton.

The Highlanders arrive in the Lone Star State for this final non-conference battle before the Big West schedule kicks off against Cal State Fullerton next week. The team is coming off an 85-43 blowout of Waldorf two nights ago at home, which means it has snapped a two-game slide.

North Texas closed out the 2013 calendar year on a high note as it crushed Texas A&M on the road in a 61-41 victory. The point total for the Aggies was their lowest in five seasons, and the win for the Mean Green was their third straight and the sixth in seven tries.

North Texas, which is 6-1 at home thus far, is kicking off a three-game homestand with this contest, with visits by Conference USA foes Southern Miss and Tulane still to come.

Against Waldorf College, an NAIA program, the UC Riverside defense looked like world-beaters as it held the Warriors to just 27.1 percent shooting from the floor, 2-of-18 beyond the arc, and forced 17 turnovers, while allowing just 16 field goals. Sam Finley paced four players in double figures with a game-high 19 points, followed by Chris Harriel with 16, Austin Quick 13 and Nick Gruninger 12 points for the hosts.

Chris Patton, who did not play against Waldorf and was listed as the second- leading scorer for UCR before that meeting with 12.8 ppg, has actually slipped ahead of Taylor Johns on the list as the latter now has 12.7 ppg. The pair combine for close to 15 rebounds per game, but still Riverside is coming up short against the competition in that department more often than not. Not only do the Highlanders have trouble on the glass, they are also shooting a collective 29.8 percent behind the 3-point line at the moment.

Maurice Aniefiok scored a game-high 16 points as the North Texas Mean Green stunned the Texas A&M Aggies by 20 points in non-conference action at Reed Arena on Tuesday evening. Aniefiok, who converted 4-of-6 shots behind the 3- point line, added six rebounds for the Mean Green as they picked up their first win in the series since 1999 when they won by just three points at home, 91-88. Also scoring in double figures was Alzee Williams, who dropped in 14 points as he knocked down 5-of-6 shots from the floor.

Playing close to 32 minutes per game, Alzee Williams emerges as the leading scorer for the Mean Green with his 14.8 ppg, followed by Jordan Williams who is the only other double-digit scorer for the program with 11.2 ppg. Jordan Williams paces the program on the glass with 6.5 rpg, helping the Mean Green reach 40.9 rpg, but at the same time be has just six assists and continues to shoot only 37.4 percent from the floor because his accuracy beyond the arc (.262) is dragging him down.

After blowing up Texas A&M on Tuesday the Mean Green might be in line for a let-down, but even so they still have more than enough talent, as well as the home court advantage, in order to take down a slumping UCR group.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Texas 67, UC Riverside 59

01/04 10:37:34 ET

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