Men's Basketball Begins Season Friday Against Jarvis Christian

Nov. 12, 2015

The 2015-16 North Texas men's basketball team (photo by David Pyke)

North Texas men's basketball vs. Jarvis Christian
Date | Time   Friday, November 13 | 7:30 p.m. CT
Location    Denton, TX | The Super Pit (10,500)
Live Stats
Stream   Mean Green All-Access ($)
Radio  MGRN - 88.1 KNTU-FM, 95.3 KHYI-FM - Hank Dickenson (PxP), Evan Nemic (Color)
Twitter   @MeanGreenMBB
Game Notes   North Texas  | Conference USA

DENTON - After a month of practices and scrimmages, the North Texas men's basketball team will finally begin its 2015-16 season Friday, Nov. 13 against NAIA member Jarvis Christian at 7:30 p.m. from the Super Pit.

The game will be part of a doubleheader with the women's basketball team, which will take on San Francisco starting at 5 p.m. from the Super Pit.

"I feel like we have had great preparation since the summer," head coach Tony Benford said. "I believe these guys are learning how to work together and how tough you have to be at this level. It has been really beneficial to have Jeremy (Combs) and J-Mychal (Reese) to show the young guys how to prepare the right way. Our guys are excited to start playing after having two positive scrimmages in October."

The Mean Green return seven players from last year's 14-win team, including C-USA all-freshman team selection Jeremy Combs. Combs, who was named captain as a sophomore, averaged 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season. Junior J-Mychal Reese will play for the first time since transferring from Texas A&M after sitting out last season. Fellow junior DeAndre Harris had seven games scoring in double figures and hit 17 3-pointers last season.

North Texas brought in a ton of talent to help the returners this season. Senior Eric Katenda, a 6-foot-9 Notre Dame transfer, brings size to the frontcourt after playing in 15 games for the Fighting Irish last season. Junior Deckie Johnson played at Angelina College and averaged 18.7 points per game in 2014. Johnson scored 1,000 points in just two seasons at the junior college. Four freshmen will add to the depth of the team in Khalil Fuller (forward, 6-foot-8), Rickey Brice Jr. (center, 7-foot), Ja'Michael Brown (guard, 6-foot-1) and Allante Holston (guard, 6-foot-7).

Benford enters his fourth season with North Texas and has a 42-53 career record. His 42 wins rank ninth in school history and he was the fourth fastest coach to reach 30 wins in NT history.

The Mean Green will open the 2015-16 season with five straight home games at the Super Pit. NT was 11-6 at home last season and hopes to have the home-court advantage in these first five games against Jarvis Christian (Nov. 13), Texas College (Nov. 16), Idaho (Nov. 23), Samford (Nov. 24) and Troy (Nov. 25).

"If you are going to have a winning season it starts at home," added Benford. "You have to show pride in getting people to come support us. We have been out on campus getting to know our spirit groups and letting them know we want to establish a home court advantage. It is great for our fans to get a chance to see our guys play right away. We have to take advantage of it by taking it one game at a time and if we do that then we will have success."

About the Opponent: Jarvis Christian
• The season opener will count as an exhibition for Jarvis Christian, but will be a regular season game for North Texas. The Bulldogs are 1-0 on the season after defeating the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, 94-86, on Nov. 10. Junior Deon Fisher led the team with 23 points (9-for-12) and newcomer Chris Key added 22 points off 7-of-10 shooting from the field.

• This will be the second meeting between North Texas and Jarvis Christian. The first meeting was back on Dec. 22, 2006, with the Mean Green coming away with a 94-70 victory at the Super Pit. Former NT standout Calvin Watson had 27 points and seven rebounds. NT shot 54.1 percent from the field (33-of-61) and dominated points in the paint (42-to-22) as well as fast-break points (16-to-2).

• Jarvis Christian is a NAIA school located in Hawkins, TX and they play in the Red River Conference, NT will also play Texas College (Nov. 16) who plays in the RRC as well.

• Last year, the Bulldogs had a 7-18 record, 4-15 in conference games. DeWayne Wade led the team in scoring at 12.3 points per game, while returning player Deon Fisher paced the team in assists (2.3 per game) and steals (1.48).



North Texas Mean Green