Troy (5-9) at North Texas (5-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Super Pit (10,500) -- Denton, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Troy 3-4, NT 3-3. Away Record: Troy 1-4, NT 0-5. Neutral Record: Troy 1-1, NT 2-1. Conference Record: Troy 0-3, NT 0-3. Series Record: North Texas leads, 9-3.
GAME NOTES: Two teams desperate for a win are set to collide as the Troy Trojans venture to The Super Pit for a Sun Belt Conference tilt against the North Texas Mean Green.
Troy lost its second game in a row and for the seventh time in eight outings on Dec. 27 when it suffered a 61-54 setback to Florida Atlantic to drop to 5-9 overall and 0-3 in SBC play. Coach Don Maestri's squad has lost its last three appearances in away games as well due to its offensive troubles. The Trojans are scoring just 61.9 points per game and have been held under 40 percent shooting from the floor on eight separate occasions. They have allowed their foes to produce 65.9 ppg with a .437 field goal percentage.
Tony Benford's Mean Green had their losing streak extended to three on New Year's Eve when they were defeated, 75-57, by Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro. North Texas had its records fall to the same disappointing 5-9 (overall) and 0-3 (SBC) marks that the visitors are currently at as well. The good news for the Mean Green is they get to return home, where they are 3-3. North Texas is more adept on the offensive end as it scores 67.4 points per game but on a poor 39.7 percent shooting from the field. Its opposition is having a little more success as they own a 68.7 ppg scoring average and a three-point percentage just under .400.
The Mean Green hold a 9-3 all-time series lead over Troy. North Texas completed an 87-65 rout of the Trojans in the last meeting on Dec. 31, 2011.
The Trojans are coming off of their worst offensive performance of the season as they made just 17-of-60 field goal attempts (28.3 percent) including just 6-of-27 from 3-point range against FAU. The Owls held a dominant, 46-33, edge in the rebounding battle in addition to their stingy defensive output. Antoine Myers and R.J. Scott scored 18 and 10 points, respectively, for Troy in the loss. Outside of Myers, who knocked down 7-of-11 shots from the floor, the starting Trojans made just 6-of-28 from the field in the outing. Myers and Emil Jones are tied for the team's scoring lead with 9.9 ppg each, while Hunter Williams is just behind them with 9.6 ppg.
NBA prospect Tony Mitchell registered a double-double for the 14th time in his career by tallying 13 points and 11 rebounds, but North Texas still trailed by 18 points when the concluding sound of the buzzer ended its bout at Middle Tennessee. The Mean Green fell behind by double-digit in the first half where they were able to sink only five field goals. Jordan Williams poured in a team-best 15 points and Roger Franklin added 11. Although NT has been disappointing so far, Mitchell is having a decent sophomore campaign with averages of 13.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per contest. Jordan Williams (11.4 ppg) and Alzee Williams (10.4 ppg) are both solid scoring options.
North Texas seemed to find its rhythm on the offensive end in the second half of its contest versus the Blue Raiders. It will need to play more consistently for 40 minutes to dig itself out of its current hole, but Mitchell should have no problem scoring inside against the Trojans' weak interior defense. Troy lacks the go-to-guy on its roster that would be helpful in a conference road game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Texas 69, Troy 62
01/03 10:43:00 ET