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Late night hoops rewind: UNT 72, UTSA 71

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

Final: North Texas 72, Texas-San Antonio 71

Where UNT stands: The Mean Green improved to 9-6 on the season and jumped out to a 2-0 start in Conference USA play with their win over UTSA.

Now what?: UNT will return to Denton for a two-game homestand next week. The Mean Green will face Charlotte on Thursday before hosting an Old Dominion team that appears as if will be one of the top teams in Conference USA this season on Saturday. 

Star of the day: Ryan Woolridge scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. The sophomore scored 14 points in the second half and grabbed five rebounds. Woolridge's performance helped UNT rally from a seven-point halftime deficit to pull out the win.

Say what?

"Setting records is about being tough. That is what I told them -- toughness travels. You can win at the park, you can win on the road, you can win anywhere, if you are tough. This team is getting tougher every day.

-- Grant McCasland, UNT coach following the Mean Green's win over rival UTSA.

Our take: UNT not only improved to 2-0 in Conference USA play with its win over UTSA. The Mean Green also equaled their win total in league play from all of last year's disastrous season under Tony Benford in the process.

UNT opened C-USA play with a thrilling one-point win over UTEP and came back to beat the Roadrunners in similar fashion. 

A.J. Lawson made a layup with 1:02 left to put UNT up 72-70. UTSA guard Jhivvan Jackson made one of two free throw attempts with 47 seconds left to pull UTSA within one.

The Roadrunners had a chance to go ahead late, but Shane Temara blocked Byron Frohnen's layup with 12 seconds left. 

Allante Holston missed a free throw with nine seconds left, giving UTSA another chance. The Roadrunners got the ball to Giovanni De Nicolao, but his layup attempt with three seconds left was off and the Mean Green survived.

Road wins can be hard to come by in conference play. UNT now has two on its resume and will have an excellent chance to get to 3-0 in C-USA play next week when it faces Charlotte. The 49ers are in disarray after firing Mark Price just a few games into their season.

UNT will roll into that game after finding a way to win for the second straight time, despite facing some challenges along the way. The Mean Green trailed by 13 in the first half.