Mitchell, McDermott To Meet In Benford Opener
All-Americans Collide In Hoops Opener At Creighton
North Texas (0-0) at No. 16/15 Creighton (0-0)
Omaha, Neb. • CenturyLink Center (17,272)
Nov. 9, 2012 • 7 p.m.
Radio: MGRN - 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM
Webcast: MeanGreenSports.com (via GoCreighton.com)
Series: Tied 4-4
Last: NT won 108-105 in Denton, TX on Feb. 26, 1977
OMAHA, Neb. – The Tony Benford era of North Texas basketball will get started with a bang on Friday night as two of the best players in college hoops will square off in Creighton’s CenturyLink Center. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. and can be heard on the Mean Green Radio Network.
Preseason All-Americans Tony Mitchell of North Texas and Doug McDermott of Creighton have quite a history playing with and against each other. Both represented the United States in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championships and the two also participated in the prestigious LeBron James and Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academies.
On Friday, their schools will square off with the college basketball world paying close attention. Several publication have called this game one of the nation’s best of the year, and it’s no wonder with the amount of talent that both teams will suit up.
McDermott became the first AP First Team All-American in Creighton’s rich history in 2011-12. McDermott was among the national leaders with 22.9 points per game, and added 8.2 boards and 60.1 percent shooting in leading the Jays to the third round of the NCAA Tournament.
No. 16 Creighton opened the season ranked inside the AP Top 25 Poll for the second time in school history. Creighton ended the 2011-12 season ranked 19th in the AP Poll and 20th in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
North Texas and Creighton have met eight times, and the series is split down the middle at 4-4. In Omaha, the Jays lead 4-2, while the Mean Green leads the Denton series 2-0. The two haven’t met since 1977, when they split a February home-and-home. NT did get the last laugh with a 108-105 thilling win in Denton on Nov. 26, 1977.
Benford, a collegiate coaching veteran of 21 years, took the reins of the North Texas basketball program for 2012-13. Benford spent the last three years at Marquette, including the 2011-12 season as Buzz Williams’ Associate Head Coach. Aside from helping the Golden Eagles reach the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in each of the last two years, Benford has coached in 14 total postseason appearances and has recruited and coached five NBA first-round draft picks in his career.