College Basketball

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North Texas (12-13) at FIU (13-13)

The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 7 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: FIU Arena (5,000) -- Miami, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: UNT 9-5, FIU 8-4. Away Record: UNT 3-6, FIU 4-7. Neutral Record: UNT 0-2, FIU 1-2. Conference Record: UNT 3-8, FIU 5-6. Series Record: North Texas leads, 12-4.

GAME NOTES: The FIU Panthers hope to bounce back as they return home to Miami for a Conference USA tilt versus the North Texas Mean Green.

North Texas snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday as it edged East Carolina, 53-51, at the Super Pit in Denton. The Mean Green's much needed victory improved their C-USA record to 3-8, which includes just one win on the road. Tony Benford's squad has allowed its conference opponents to net 73.2 ppg, which is the third most among C-USA programs. North Texas is in the middle of the pack offensively, scoring 67.5 ppg in league action.

FIU concluded its two-game trip to the Lone Star State with an 84-71 setback at Texas-El Paso on Saturday. The Panthers have alternated wins with losses over their last four games to arrive at a 13-13 overall record, including a 5-6 mark in C-USA games. Coach Anthony Evans's team is netting 68.7 ppg on 45 percent shooting from the field on the campaign. The Panthers are averaging 3.1 less rpg than their opposition in C-USA action.

This contest between FIU and North Texas will mark the 17th meeting between the two teams with the Mean Green owning a 12-4 edge in the history of the rivalry. The last meeting between the two teams resulted in a 77-67 win for the Mean Green on Feb. 9, 2013, when both programs were still members of the Sun Belt Conference.

The Panthers got off to a slow start versus UTEP and went into the intermission facing a 39-21 deficit. Rakeem Buckles led FIU with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor, while Tymell Murphy and Dennis Mavin netted 13 points apiece. Jerome Frink chipped in 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Murphy has been sensational throughout the 2013-14 campaign en route to a team- high 16.2 ppg, which he accompanies with 7.4 rpg and 1.5 blocks per tilt. Buckles is near a double-double average with 13.8 ppg and 8.8 rpg, while Mavin (11.6 ppg) is the top scoring option out of the backcourt. Murphy and Buckles are the only two teammates ranked in the top 10 in the league in rebounds per game.

Jordan Williams rejected a last second 3-point field goal attempt by ECU to seal the triumph for the Mean Green on Saturday night. North Texas made only 39.6 percent of its field goal attempts including a 5-of-19 clip from 3-point range in the contest, but limited the Pirates to 38.5 percent shooting from the floor and finished with 11 more total rebounds. Vertrail Vaughns netted a team- high 13 points and Chris Jones contributed nine points, four assists and four steals. Jordan Williams is the Mean Green's leader on the campaign with averages of 12 ppg and 6.1 rpg. Alzee Williams is clocking a team-best 28.5 minutes per tilt and second in the scoring column at 11.5 ppg. Jones is also a steady contributor with averages of 8.5 ppg and 4.1 apg. Alzee Williams needs just five more points to become the 20th player in school history to reach the 1,000 point plateau.

FIU has been playing very well under Evans. The Panthers are just 2-5 versus the Mean Green in Miami all-time, but they should be able to gain ground in the series. North Texas has lost its last four road games and won only once away from home in league play.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: FIU 73, North Texas 66

02/20 10:18:30 ET

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