NT Hoops Squad Looks To Halt Southern Miss Stranglehold
USM Has Taken Last Eight Meetings, But NT Enters Confident Thanks To LA Tech Upset
North Texas (8-10, 2-4 C-USA) vs. Southern Miss (5-12, 0-6 C-USA)
DENTON – In a slugfest at the Super Pit on Thursday night, North Texas was able to end one of its longest losing streaks to another school – a nine game skid to Louisiana Tech that spanned to 1986. On Saturday night, the Mean Green will have an opportunity to end Southern Miss’ hardwood stranglehold on NT.
USM has won the last eight meetings with North Texas by an average margin of victory of 9.6 points. Eph McDaniel dropped a team-season high 30 points in North Texas’ last win victory over Southern Miss - an 81-62 win in the Snake Pit in Denton on Dec. 4, 1971.
Despite winning 29 games and advancing to the third round of the NIT, Southern Miss has struggled this season. The Golden Eagles have dropped their last nine games and own C-USA’s lowest scoring offense at 60.2 points per game. Rice downed USM, 58-56, in Houston on Thursday.
In May, Doc Sadler became the 20th head coach in Southern Miss history, and Sadler has several connections to the NT coaching staff. As the head coach at UTEP, Sadler hired current NT head coach Tony Benford in July of 2006, and took Benford with him to Nebraska for the next two seasons. NT assistant coach David Anwar spent eight years with Sadler at both UTEP and Nebraska as both an assistant and director of operations.
NT became the first C-USA squad to down LA Tech this year thanks to a stellar first half. NT scored 49 points (most since ‘09-10) and shot 72.0 percent (best since ‘12-13). LA Tech whittled the NT lead down to one with 4:30 left, but NT hauled in 10 of the game’s last 12 rebounds and pulled away.
With the LA Tech win, Benford tied NT Hall of Famer Charlie Johnson (1959-65) and Gene Robbins (1971-75) for 10th among all NT coaches with 36 career wins.