BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (12/19/06) Two of North Texas’ last three basketball games against Western Kentucky have come down to the buzzer, and its no wonder the way Calvin Watson has played against the Hilltoppers.
The senior, who has hit at least one 3-pointer in 18 straight games, is averaging 16.7 points per game versus the Hilltoppers, and is hitting an astonishing 69.2 percent of his three point attempts. Watson is also averaging a 59.4 field goal percentage and 2.0 assists per game against WKU.
Watson will look to lead his team back from its heartbreaking double-overtime loss to New Orleans with the last of its season-long five game road trip at Western Kentucky.
North Texas will have the task of neutralizing the Sun Belt’s Preseason Player of the Year and top vote-getting team in Courtney Lee and the Hilltoppers. Lee is averaging 18.9 ppg and 5.0 rpg in leading the Hilltoppers to an 8-3 record.
The Mean Green ranks among the nation’s elite offensive clubs, especially off the bench. NT has outscored its opponents sideline by a total of 139 points (13.9 ppg) this season, and has topped six of its opponents’ benches by at least 10 points.
Head coach Johnny Jones’ emphasis on team play has come to fruition this season, as North Texas already has three games in which five players have scored in double figures. Only 10 games into the season, that feat equals a high in the Jones era. The Mean Green trails only Western Kentucky for the Sun Belt lead in overall points per game by three-tenths of a point (79.0-78.7). In his career at NT (2001-present), Jones has had 14 games with five players in double figures.
North Texas’ 7-3 start is making waves as one of the best in school history. Only three squads in the last 75 years have bested this team’s first 10 games (1976/77 - 9-1, 1975/76 - 9-1, 1952/53 - 8-2). The Mean Green has improved across the board, increasing its 3-point percentage from 32.9 last year to 41.3 in 2006-07. NT has also upped it shooting percentage and its rebounding margin has risen by +4.7 per game.
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