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UNT basketball opening night running blog

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

North Texas will open the 2017-18 season this afternoon with an old school doubleheader. 

The UNT women are up first and will take on Mid-American Christian University at 3 p.m. Grant McCasland's debut as UNT's head coach follows when then Mean Green men take on Eueka College.

Both teams have reason to believe they will be better this year. The UNT women lost a few key players for the season, including Madison Townley, who has a shoulder injury. Tyara Warren had to give the game up due to a knee issue.

UNT filled the void with a host of talented newcomers, including guard Lauren Holmes. The freshman looks like she could be a star. 

The one news tidbit heading into today's game is that Mike Miller will not play in the men's game. He tweaked a knee in practice this week.

The lineup for the UNT men will be largely revamped since last season. Zachary Simmons and Umoja Gibson will start as freshmen. Newcomer Roosevelt Smart, Ryan Woolridge and A.J. Lawson are sophomores.

There are some talented players in that batch.

The best news, though, is that Tony Benford is no longer UNT's coach. The Mean Green never finished over .500 under Benford and went 8-22 last season.

McCasland has been successful everywhere he has coached and won 20 games in his lone season at Arkansas State last year. The question is if he can build UNT back into what it was under Johnny Jones.

Stay tuned. I will update the blog all night.

Starters for UNT -- Brittany Smith, Lauren Holmes Terriell Bradley, Grace Goodhart and Micayla Buckner

3:41 -- UNT is up 22-6 at the first media timeout of the first half. Terriell Bradley has 11 points for the Mean Green, who are just out athlete-ing Mid-American Christian. This is what happens when a team opens against an NAIA opponent. 

End of the first quarter -- UNT is up 28-10 at the end of the first quarter here at the Super Pit. Terriell Bradley has 11 points for the Mean Green. UNT is shooting 50 percent from the floor.

4:47 -- UNT is up 35-17 in the second quarter here at the Super Pit. The Mean Green have slowed down a bit offensively after a hot start. Mid-American went on a 7-0 run near the end of the first quarter and into the second. Terriell Bradley still leads UNT with 11.

Halftime -- UNT is up 49-24 at halftime of its game against Mid-American Christian here at the Super Pit. Lauren Holmes really started to fill it up in the closing moments of  the half and has 15 points at the break. Terriell Bradley has 13 points. Mid-American Christian shot 23 percent in the first half.

6:43 -- UNT is up 55-27 in the third quarter of its game against Mid-American Christian at the Super Pit. Mid-American just took a timeout. UNT is on a 6-0 run.

4:49 -- UNT leads Mid-American Christian 75-47 as we head down the stretch here in the fourth quarter. Terriell Bradley leads three players in double figures with 17 points. UNT has shot the ball pretty well today.

Final -- UNT 86, Mid-American Christian 52

Starters for the UNT men -- Ryan Woolridge, A.J. Lawson, Shane Temara, Roosevelt Smart and Zach Simmons.

15:47 -- UNT is up 12-9 on Eureka College at the first media timeout. Shane Temara has four points, including two on a dunk in the early going. Eureka College has hit three 3s.

10:30 -- UNT is up 21-19 as we head toward the midway point of the first half. Roosevelt Smart has five points for the Mean Green. Eureka is 4-of-6 from 3-point range.

7:52 -- UNT is on an 11-0 run as we head down the stretch in the first half. Ryan Woolridge has eight points for UNT. Roosevelt Smart is headed to the line to try to complete a three-point play.

4:32 -- UNT has extended its lead to 47-25. Eureka College took a timeout after Roosevelt Smart hit a 3. 

1:38 -- Eureka College has made a bit of a run here late in the first half and has pulled within 53-31. Grant McCasland just called a timeout.

Halftime -- UNT is up 55-34 at halftime of its game against Eureka College here at the Super Pit. Roosevelt Smart is having a nice game in his UNT debut and has 14 points at halftime. UNT has played a lot of guys in its opener. Jorden Duffey has nine points, while Shane Temara has eight.

10:42 -- UNT is cruising in the second half of its game against Eureka College and is up 89-47 after Ryan Woolridge hit a driving layup. UNT has five players who have scored in double figures, including Roosevelt Smart, who has 19.

Final -- UNT wins Grant McCasland's debut 122-65.