Benford Returning To Lubbock With Mean Green Hoops
Former SWC Tourney MVP Returns To Lubbock As North Texas Head Coach
North Texas (6-5 - C-USA) vs. Texas Tech (9-3 - Big 12)
LUBBOCK, Texas - The Texas Tech record books speak to the stellar career Tony Benford had in Lubbock, but on Monday night the focus of the North Texas head coach will be on taking down the Red Raiders.
A native of Hobbs, N.M., Benford played at Texas Tech from 1983-86 under Gerald Myers, and led them to the Southwest Conference regular season and tournament championships in 1985 and the tournament title 1986.
Benford was even named the SWC Tournament MVP in 1986. He still ranks eighth in Texas Tech history with 341 career assists, and his 1,015 career points rank 35th.
In his third year at North Texas, Benford is the fourth fastest Mean Green coach to reach 30 victories since World War II. He needs just two more victories to tie North Texas Hall of Famer Charlie Johnson and Gene Robbins for 10th place in program history with 36 victories.
The man who recruited Benford to Texas Tech, NT associate head coach Rob Evans, will also be making his return to Lubbock. Also a native of Hobbs, N.M., Evans was on Myers' coaching staff from 1976-90, and would later rack up 205 wins as the head coach at Mississippi and Arizona State.
Evans was a standout athlete at Lubbock Christian (LCU HOF class of `90) and New Mexico State (NMSU HOF class of `93) before going into coaching.
While both Benford and Evans have a lifetime of memories from their time on the High Plains, they are relative newcomers to a series that has been very tight in recent years. The Red Raiders lead the series with North Texas, 9-6, but the last two meetings have come down to the wire.
In Nov. of 2010, NT's Josh White hit a jumper with 3-seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. That's when the Mean Green came alive and downed Texas Tech, 92-83, in the Super Pit.
Exactly one year later, North Texas cut it to a one-point game with 1:04 remaining at United Spirit Arena, but the Red Raiders would close out a 69-64 win with four free throws in the final minute.