Mustangs look to refocus against UCF
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 23:01
After falling to 1-5 since the start of the New Year, the SMU Mustangs (11-9, 1-4 in C-USA) need a conference victory versus Central Florida in order to make a late push if they have hopes of an appearance in the NCAA tournament.
The task will not be an easy one as the Golden Knights possess one of the nation’s strongest offenses and the pre-season Conference USA player of the year, senior forward Keith Clanton.
Clanton is coming off one of his best games of the season when he filled up the stat sheet with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists in an overtime win versus Houston.
The Mustangs will counter with Junior Shawn Williams, who has been on a scoring tear lately, producing 41 points in the last three games. Although SMU is 1-2 in that span, Williams’ production has been a big lift alongside leading scorers Nick Russell and Jalen Jones.
SMU’s 8-1 start is not completely forgotten, but the same level of offense has not been seen. While the Mustangs averaged over 70 points per game in their first nine, they have been held to below 60 in 6 of their past 11 matches.
Although the numbers may not appear on SMU’s side, the Knights have been giving up points to conference opponents lately. UCF narrowly defeated Houston, 79-75, and lost it’s previous game to East Carolina, 88-85.
Larry Brown’s squad will also have the advantage of rest, as UCF played Rice on Wednesday, while the Mustangs have been able to rest since their game against UTEP last Saturday.
Hopefully the defense of SMU will be able to hold the offense of the Knights in check and get on a run as the calendar inches closer to the Conference tournament in March.