UNT Advances to NIT Final Four

UNT basketball team | Image by UNT Basketball/Twitter

The North Texas Mean Green is heading to the NIT Final Four in Las Vegas.

UNT (29-7) knocked off one-seed Oklahoma State 65-59 on Tuesday night in overtime in Stillwater for its first win against the Cowboys since the 2007-08 season.

It was North Texas’s 10th postseason win under head coach Grant McCasland, the only coach in school history to lead the team to any postseason wins.

The Mean Green held a 24-17 lead at the half as both teams struggled to shoot early.

Oklahoma State fought back in the second half. While North Texas stymied the early comeback attempts, Caleb Asberry’s three-ball with 8:13 left gave the Cowboys a 44-41 lead.

Conference USA player of the Year Tylor Perry, who became the 25th UNT player to score more than 1,000 points, kept the Mean Green in the game with eight points over the final 5:11 of regulation. Woody Newton’s three-pointer sent the game to overtime tied at 55.

North Texas controlled overtime from the start, holding the Cowboys to just four free throws and no made field goals in the five-minute period. Perry and Kai Huntsberry combined for 10 points for the Mean Green to send the team into the NIT semifinals.

Asberry, Woody Newton, and Bryce Thompson all missed threes in the final 30 seconds as Oklahoma State frantically tried to stay in the game.

Perry led all scorers with 23 points, while Asberry led Oklahoma State with 14. Huntsberry and Moulaye Sissoko also scored in double figures for the Mean Green.

“I thought he willed us to win,” McCasland told the media about Perry after the game. “I could’ve done a way better job of helping him, but man, did he make some big baskets. Tremendous win for our program and really a blessing to keep playing.”

UNT will face Wisconsin (20-14) in the NIT Final Four at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Tuesday, looking for its first 30-win season in program history.

The other semifinal matchup will be determined Wednesday night when UAB plays Vanderbilt and Cincinnati plays Utah Valley.

North Texas is just two wins away from winning the NIT championship.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *