No. 10 North Texas (15-15, 6-10) vs No. 15 Rice (7-22, 2-14)
El Paso, Texas Don Haskins Center (12,000)
March 11-15, 2014, 4:30 p.m.
Radio: MGRN - 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM
Webcast: C-USA Digital Network (March 11-13)
Series: NT leads 9-4 (Rice won 75-70 on Feb. 6)
C-USA Tournament Guide
EL PASO, Texas - A pair of 1,000-point scorers, Alzee Williams and Jordan Williams, will lead a potent North Texas basketball squad into a Tuesday afternoon showdown against No. 15 Rice in the opening round of the C-USA Tournament, at 4:30 p.m. central time.
Alzee, who scored his 1,000th point in the win at FIU on Feb. 20, was joined in the 1,000-point club by Jordan Williams just seven days later in the win over UTSA. The duo now sit at 18th and 19th in school history in career scoring.
They aren't the only Mean Green players challenging the record books. Chris Jones has 120 assists on the year, which is tied with Dominique Johnson (120 in `08-09) for ninth on the NT single-season list. When the junior passes Johnson, he will have the most assists by an NT player since Calvin Williams' 137 dimes in 1998-99. At 275 career assist, Jones is also making the trek up that top 10 list, and currently sits in sixth place.
NT will be taking on a Rice team that clipped the Mean Green in Houston, 75-70, back on Feb. 6. NT was able to cut the early 17-point Owl lead to two with 8:08 remaining, but Rice was able to close the game with eight free throws in the final minute.
This will be North Texas' first appearance in the C-USA Tournament after a successful run in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament. NT was 1-6 in the SBC Tournament in its first six seasons, but was 15-5 with four finals appearances and two SBC titles in its last seven seasons in the league. In fact, NT joined UAB and Western Kentucky as the only programs to make three straight Sun Belt finals appearances (`10, `11, `12).
North Texas has shown an ability to make lengthy conference tournament runs despite low seeds. In `06-07, No. 5 seed NT became the lowest seed to ever win the SBC Tourney, and in `10-11 and `11-12 they made runs to the finals from the No. 4 seed and No. 5 seeds, respectively.