UNT-UTA advance

North Texas guard Tylor Perry drives past Buffalo’s Josh Mballa during the Bulls win on Monday at the Super Pit. The Mean Green will face UTA on Thursday.

One of North Texas’ more entertaining series will resume Thursday at the Super Pit, where the Mean Green will host UTA.

UNT and the Mavericks have played plenty of times over the years and will meet for the first time since the 2019-20 season at 7 p.m.

The game will offer UNT a chance to get back on track following a tough 69-66 loss to Buffalo on Monday. The Bulls were picked to win the MAC in the league’s preseason coaches’ poll and lived up to their billing while rallying from an 11-point deficit late in the second half to pull out the win.

UNT wanted to test itself early in the season. Buffalo certainly provided that test.

“When we scheduled this game, we knew this would be a team that would expose our weaknesses,” UNT coach Grant McCasland said following the game. “Give them credit because down the stretch they were more physical and aggressive. You could see that they have been here before and understood how to win a game.”

UNT (1-1) couldn’t close out Buffalo but saw a few good signs in the game as the Mean Green continue to adjust after losing several key players from last season’s team that won an NCAA tournament game for the first time in program history.

Tylor Perry, a junior college transfer who arrived at UNT this fall, has scored 40 points through UNT’s first two games

“My teammates and coaches believe in me to knock down shots,” Perry said. “That gives me confidence.”

Mardrez McBride is adding 15.0 points per game. Thomas Bell (13.0) and Abou Ousmane (10.0) are also averaging double figures.

UNT struggled to get anything going offensively late in its loss to Buffalo and missed its last 11 shots from the field.

“It’s a new team and this is the second game in,” McBride said. “This one stings, but we will learn from it.”

UNT’s first opportunity to show it benefitted from a challenging game against Buffalo will come against a UTA team that is 1-2 and is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Abilene Christian.

UTA (1-2) had a three-point lead in the closing seconds and had Damien Daniels heading to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity with 3.5 seconds left. Daniels missed the first shot.

Officials called a jump ball on the rebound, giving the ball to ACU. The Wildcats got the ball to Immanuel Allen, who knocked down a contested 3 to force overtime and ACU pulled away for an 80-71 win.

David Azore is averaging 14.0 points per game for UTA, which has nine players averaging at least 4.0 on the season.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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