At just about any other time, North Texas would look at a quick turnaround like the one it will encounter today as a potential determent.
The Mean Green universally agreed Monday that it will be a blessing this time around, when UNT will face Central Arkansas in a rare 11:30 a.m. game at the Super Pit just two days after a historic loss at the hands of Stephen F. Austin.
UNT fell to the Lumberjacks 87-53 on Sunday. A loss like that would be tough for any team to take but was especially shocking for the Mean Green, which was looking at the game as a way to recover from a 97-67 thrashing at the hands of BYU on Dec. 3.
UNT had not dropped back-to-back games by 30 or more points since the 1999-2000 season. The Mean Green’s loss to SFA was also its worst at home since falling to Oklahoma State 94-56 on Nov. 28, 2000.
“It’s great to have that turnaround after embarrassing ourselves, our fans and our whole institution,” UNT men’s coach Tony Benford said. “We have to learn from it. We are not as bad as we played and there is a lot of basketball to be played. You can’t let a game beat you twice.”
The UNT women will also be looking to bounce back from a loss today when they take on Denver at 7 p.m. in the final game of a two-game swing through Colorado. UNT came back from a 19-point, first-half deficit in a game against Northern Colorado to take a late lead before falling 75-69 on Sunday.
“I am really disappointed that we didn’t find a way to win that game, even though they are hard to beat at home,” UNT women’s coach Mike Petersen said. “I am pleased with the way we came back, but we are disappointed in the way we got down.”
Petersen said that UNT has given away at least three games this season due to a lack of consistent effort.
UNT will look to get that type of effort today, when the Mean Green is hoping to see a repeat performance from Janis Peterson. The junior transfer exploded for 27 points in UNT’s loss to UNC.
“Peterson was a bright spot,” Petersen said. “She has been working hard at doing what we are asking her to do.”
There were very few bright spots for the UNT men in their loss to SFA. UNT’s 53 points were a season low and the Mean Green struggled defensively.
UNT watched film of the game Monday and will look to make a host of corrections heading into today’s game.
“You can always take something out of a loss like that and learn from it,” UNT guard Brandan Walton said.
Having that opportunity so quickly after a second straight blowout loss is something for which UNT’s players are thankful.
“We will bounce back,“ UNT guard Alzee Williams said. “It’s always good to have another game. You can put the last one to rest and keep moving forward.”