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Late night hoops rewind: UNT 85, Rice 78

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Brett Vito, Staff Writer

Final: North Texas 85, Rice 78

Where UNT stands: UNT picked up its third win in Conference USA play and bounced back from consecutive losses in the process. The Mean Green are 10-8 overall and 3-2 in C-USA play.

Now what?: UNT will continue a three game road trip next week when it travels to Louisiana Tech on Thursday and Southern Miss on Saturday. 

Star of the day: Roosevelt Smart knocked down a school record 10 shots from 3-point range on his way to scoring a career-high 42 points in UNT's win over Rice. Smart's 42 points are the fifth highest scoring output in program history. Only 14 players in school history have scored at least 40 points in a game. 

Say what?

"He's one of the best shooters I've ever coached, maybe the best. He just makes open shots. His deal is confidence and stepping out there knowing that we need him."

-- Grant McCasland, UNT coach on Smart.

Our take: Smart came up with one of the best performances in program history in UNT's win over Rice.

Smart is the type of player who is tough to stop when he gets into a groove. He found one of those grooves in UNT's win over Rice.

What was nearly as impressive is D.J. Draper chipping in 23 points off the bench and going 6-for-9 from 3-point range. UNT is playing with a short bench this season and is especially shorthanded with A.J. Lawson nursing a wrist injury.

UNT will need Draper later this season. Seeing him come up with a big performance was particularly encouraging for the Mean Green.

UNT has a favorable schedule over the next few weeks and took a key step toward taking advantage with its win over Rice. 

FEATURED PHOTO: North Texas sophomore guard Roosevelt Smart takes a shot at the Super Pit earlier this season. Smart scored a career-high 42 points in the Mean Green's win over Rice on Saturday. (Jake King/DRC)