North Texas (2-2) vs. Idaho (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,582) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: UNT 2-0, Idaho 2-0. Away Record: UNT 0-1, Idaho 0-2. Neutral Record: UNT 0-1, Idaho 0-0. Conference Record: UNT 0-0, Idaho 0-0. Series Record: Idaho leads, 8-0.
GAME NOTES: The Idaho Vandals will try to continue their dominance over the North Texas Mean Green as the two schools meet in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Chiles Center in Portland, Oregon.
This will be the ninth meeting in history between North Texas and Idaho. The Vandals have won all eight prior encounters.
The Mean Green fell back to the .500 mark on in their first matchup at the Chiles Center despite a spirited effort in the second half. North Texas fell, 70-66, to Columbia, which hit on 11-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc to build a commanding, 39-29, advantage. Coach Tony Benford's team fought back and forced the Lions into 16 turnovers while committing only seven itself. UNT hit on only 36.4 percent of its shots from the floor before the break including an 0-of-5 clip from 3-point range. It hit on 5-of-11 from behind the 3-point line over the final 20 minutes, but it was too little, too late.
Idaho dropped to 2-2 on the season on Thursday as the Vandals dropped an 88-74 decision to the hosting Portland Pilots. The Vandals opened up their campaign with a four-point win over Western Illinois but then suffered an 85-65 setback at Oklahoma. Coach Don Verlin's squad bounced back with a 78-64 victory against Northwest Nazarene at home last Saturday. The Vandals could not keep their momentum on Thursday as Portland used a 21-4 run in the opening nine minutes to instantly take control.
Ventrail Vaughns led the Mean Green with 18 points against the Lions while Alzee Williams finished with 12 points and Jordan Williams chipped in with 11 points. Alzee Williams has been the leader of the team in the early season with a team-best 18.5 points per game. Jordan Williams is second in scoring with 11.8 ppg. Chris Jones and Vaughns are both contributing just over 10 ppg while Keith Coleman is the top rebounder with 6.5 boards per tilt. UNT is going to struggle if it does not receive better play out of Brandan Walton, who has gone just 2-of-17 from beyond the arc through his first four outings.
Stephen Madison led all scorers with 19 points for the Vandals on Thursday. The senior forward is now averaging a team-high 15.7 points per game after his strong showing. None of his teammates managed to reach double-figures in the scoring column and the rest of the starting five combined to go 10-of-28 from the field. Mike Scott came off the bench to tally nine points while Glen Dean, Connor Hill and Sekou Wiggs chipped in eight points apiece. Idaho managed to convert 15-of-21 attempts at the charity stripe, but it was not enough as the Pilots sank 31 of their 38 free-throw tries.
Although the Mean Green lost their star forward Tony Mitchell, who was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, they have high hopes to improve upon last season's 12-20 record that was highly affected by injuries, including the starting backcourt of Walton and Chris Jones, who played a combined total of only 15 games. Walton will eventually break out of his slump. Idaho's poor defensive play will give him a great chance to do so, and NT is due for a win over the Vandals.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Texas 78, Idaho 75
11/22 10:34:51 ET