For the first time in three years, Oklahoma Christian will have the opportunity to test itself against an NCAA Division I men's basketball opponent.
The Eagles will visit North Texas for an exhibition game on Nov. 5, OC coach Kendre Talley said Tuesday. It will be OC's first meeting ever against North Texas, one made possible in large part because of new OC assistant coach Luis Lopez, who spent the last two seasons as a graduate assistant under Grant McCasland, the Mean Green's head coach.
North Texas, which competes in Conference USA, is coming off a 21-11 season. Among the teams the Mean Green beat last season are two of OC's new Lone Star Conference brethren, Angelo State (89-55) and Texas A&M-Commerce (102-53).
OC last faced a Division I opponent in an exhibition game on Nov. 2, 2016, when the Eagles lost 72-53 at Tulsa. The game against North Texas will be played in the UNT Coliseum (also known as "The Super Pit") in Denton, Texas.
"I'm excited and appreciative of the opportunity to compete against UNT," Talley said. "Coach McCasland has done an exceptional job with their program since he's been there."
Opportunities to play against Division I foes — either in exhibition or regular-season contests — have been rare for the Eagles. During the past 41 seasons, OC has played in only six such games.
Perhaps the biggest win in OC basketball history came on Dec. 3, 1979, when the Eagles faced Memphis State (now just Memphis) at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tenn. OC, then coached by Jerry Jobe, led most of the way and beat the Dana Kirk-coached Tigers 90-76. During the 1982-83 season, OC gave Division I San Diego a scare before falling 70-61 in a regular-season game.
In exhibition play, the Eagles are 0-4 all-time against Division I foes. OC played at Oklahoma State in 2005 and led the Cowboys early in the second half before losing 84-62 and in 2006, the Eagles played a Halloween night game at OU and lost 79-51 to the Sooners.
On Nov. 3, 2013, OC led NCAA tournament-bound Oklahoma 41-38 at halftime before eventually falling 88-76 in Norman. Among the OC players who appeared in the game were Talley, then a senior guard, and Lopez, then a freshman guard for the Eagles.
"I had a chance to experience a Division I game as a player," Talley said. "It's a great experience that our players will enjoy and remember forever. I'm excited for this game and ready to compete and learn from this early test."