P.J. Hardwick Heading Home For Florida Swing
Miami Native Leads NT In Sunshine State Road Swing
North Texas (7-11, 2-5 SBC) at FIU (8-8, 3-4 SBC)
Jan. 17, 2013 • 6:30 p.m. (Central)
Miami, Fla. • U.S. Century Bank Arena (5,000)
Radio: MGRN - 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM
TV: None • Webcast: FIUSports.com
Series: NT leads 11-3 • Streak: NT has won 4 of last 5
Last Meeting: NT won 68-61 on Feb. 9, 2012 in Miami
MIAMI – P.J. Hardwick recently took over the North Texas starting point guard duties, and has drawn rave reviews from the Mean Green coaches. Now he gets to show off his skills in front of his hometown crowd when NT plays at FIU on Thursday night.
Tipoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. Central, and can be heard on the Mean Green Radio Network.
The freshman is averaging 8.0 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and an 87.5 percent free throw mark since taking over the starting gig four games ago.
Just 18 games into the season, NT’s injuries have already accounted for 30 individual games missed in 2012-13. In fact, five NT players missed last Thursday’s game at UALR while just seven scholarship players took the court. NT is expected to be without four players in the Florida road swing.
Tony Mitchell will be one of the healthy players in uniform when NT visits the Sunshine state, and he is expected to break the program’s career blocks record on the trip. Mitchell has posted 117 career blocks, which is just two away from Jeffrey Simpson’s school record of 119 set from 2004-06. The sophomore is averaging 2.6 blocks per game this year, which ranks second in the Sun Belt behind only Florida Atlantic’s Kelvin Penn (2.7 BPG). Mitchell set the program’s single season blocks record at 70 last year.
Both NT and FIU are led by first-year head coaches who hail from the Big East. Tony Benford is in charge at NT after spending the last four years at Marquette, including the 2011-12 season as the Associate Head Coach. Richard Pitino, son of legendary head coach Rick Pitino, was named the FIU head coach in April after three years under his father’s tutelage at Louisville. Pitino also spent last year as Associate Head Coach.
NT leads the overall series with FIU 11-3 after knocking off the Golden Panthers 68-61 in Miami on ESPN3. As a matter of fact, NT has won five of the last six meetings and nine of the last 11. NT is 5-1 overall at U.S. Century Bank Arena. NT and FIU first met as Sun Belt opponents in 2000 with a 70-68 North Texas victory in Denton.