Final: North Texas 70, Middle Tennessee 63
Where UNT stands: The Mean Green improved to 9-4 on the season and 2-1 in Conference USA play in the finale of a three-game homestand. UNT also beat Rice during its opening series of the league season. Its lone loss in that span came against UAB.
Now what?: UNT will play its first C-USA road games of the season next week when it travels to take on Marshall and Western Kentucky. The Mean Green will play the Thundering Herd on Thursday before taking on the Hilltoppers on Saturday.
“It was good to bounce back after taking a loss to UAB. We knew they were going to come in and fight. They are very scrappy. We knew we needed this one."
-- Tylor Perry, UNT guard on the importance of capping a three-game homestand with a win after the Mean Green fell to UAB on Thursday.
Star of the night: Perry enjoyed a monster night for UNT, scoring 25 points on 6-of-10 shooting. The junior hit four 3s and made all nine of his free throws.
Our take: UNT did exactly what it needed to following a loss to UAB on Thursday when it handled an MTSU team that came into the night having lost its last 11 conference road games.
The Blue Raiders hung around until midway through the second half when the Mean Green opened up some breathing room.
MTSU made one last run before Perry iced the game with a contested 3 at the shot clock buzzer. The JUCO transfer made a host of big shots, including a 3 near the end of the first half.
McCasland said UNT's staff is encouraging Perry to look for his perimeter shot more. If he continues to hit those shots at the rate he is, it will open up other aspects of UNT's offense.
Mardrez McBride also continues to shoot well from the perimeter and knocked down three 3s.
The Mean Green will carry a load of momentum into their trip to Marshall and Western Kentucky next week. UNT's game at WKU is another key C-USA game along the lines of the one it dropped earlier in the week to UAB.
The Blazers turned around and lost to Rice tonight.
The only downside for UNT is that it likely lost Jahmiah Simmons for the season to a leg injury. Simmons played a minor role off the bench but has been a good soldier for UNT who has fought through a host of health issues just to get a chance to contribute.
Here's our game story that was posted earlier tonight.