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MOBILE, Ala. (1/28/06) Both the Mean Green basketball teams will be in action today versus South Alabama, looking to climb to the top of the Sun Belt standings. The men tip at 1:30 p.m. and the women at 3:45 p.m.
North Texas (14-6, 5-4) has equaled its win total from each of the last two seasons, and looks take another step forward at South Alabama. In the hunt for the Sun Belt’s West
Division title, the Mean Green heads to Mobile, Ala. playing its best defense of the season.
The Mean Green is the nation’s 26th ranked offensive club, averaging 78.3 points per game and 46.7 shooting percentage. North Texas sits at 155 in the official RPI Ratings following the win over Middle Tennessee. NT, 1-0 against the RPI’s top 100 teams, earned a Sagarin rating of 170. One of the nation’s most potent benches, North Texas’ sideline is averaging 12.3 points per game more than its counterpart, outscoring the opponent’s bench 556-311. South Alabama is the hottest team in the Sun Belt - if not one of the hottest the nation. Only nine teams in the country are on a longer win streak than the Jaguars’ seven games.
With a win over South Alabama, North Texas would reach win number 15 - equaling its highest total in the Johnny Jones era. The 15 victories would be the most since the 1990-91 squad tallied 17. Only 10 teams (in 89 seasons) in school history have recorded more than 15 wins, including a school record 22 victories in 1977-78.
The Mean Green set new season lows for turnovers in a game in each of its last two contests. Florida Atlantic forced 11 turnovers, while North Texas turned it over only 10 times against Middle Tennessee. The Mean Green is averaging 17.0 turnovers per game this year, but only 12.3 in its last four games.
The North Texas women have dominated South Alabama through the years holding a series lead of 11-2. The Mean Green hammered the Jaguars last season 60-39 to clinch the Sun Belt Conference West Division title. North Texas has won four straight games in the series with South Alabama. At the Mitchell Center, North Texas has a record of 5-1. The only South Alabama win over North Texas at home came in 2002.
Sophomore Amber Jackson is playing the best basketball of her career in the last three games. Jackson notched her second career double-double with a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds against Middle Tennessee. In the last three games Jackson is averaging 17.6 points a game and shooting it 58 percent from the floor. She has scored in double figures in three straight games for the second time in her career. She has posted 81 field goals on the season, two more than Jackson had last year.
Jo Hall once again came off the bench to tie her career-high with 17 points. She had been struggling over the past five games. Hall had scored only a combined 14 points in the previous five games until the 17 point outburst against Middle Tennessee. She scored in double figures for the fourth time this season.
There is such a fine line between winning and losing when you look closely at the numbers. Nearly half of the Mean Green’s 13 losses this season have come by nine points or less. North Texas is 2-6 in games decided by ten points or less this season. Close contests have been nothing new to North Texas as last season ten games were decided by ten points or less. The difference last year was the Mean Green was 6-4 in those games.