SMU men's basketball drops second straight, fall to UCF 51-48 in Orlando
Published: Friday, March 4, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Despite being only one game out of first place in Conference USA standings with two weeks left in the season, the SMU men's basketball team now finds themselves in a three-way tie for fourth place, following a 51-48 loss to the University of Central Florida (19-9, 6-9 in Conference USA) Wednesday night on the road.
Papa Dia was named a potential Conference USA Player of the Year after his performance in the game against UCF.
The Mustangs' loss marks the second consecutive win for the team with only one game remaining on the regular season.
SMU (17-12, 8-7 C-USA) shot only 35 percent in the second half, but managed to bring the game to within three points in the final seconds. Freshman Jeremiah Samarrippas took the final shot for the Mustangs but his shot rimmed out as time expired.
Having yet to capture a win over UCF on the road, SMU managed to climb ahead by ten points in the first half, shooting an impressive 63 percent from the field compared to 26 percent from the Knights.
But in the second half, SMU's defense failed to shut down a 25-4 run from the Knights, giving the host team a 35-31 lead off back-to-back three's from A.J. Tyler and Isaac Sosa with 9:34 remaining.
Up 44-33 with 5:16 left, the Knights improved to hitting six of their seven shots to take the lead after hitting only 30 percent of their shot attempts in the first 30 minutes of play.
UCF also took advantage of SMU's 19 turnovers, generating 18 points off SMU's mistakes.
The Knights' defense also held the league's leading field goal and three-point percentage shooting team to just 16 shot attempts in the first 20 minutes.
Dia led the Mustangs with 18 points and nine rebounds shooting 8-of-13 from the field with one block and one steal. This was the 17th all-time at SMU in career points, making this yet another impressive game for Dia.
He also has had 63 blocks this season with only one total blocked shot for the game. This was his 23rd game to have more than eight rebounds. He has had more than eight rebounds in the past 20 games.
Samarrippas was nominated for the C-USA All-Freshman Canidate. He had four assists and has 101 total assists this season. He's the sixth freshman at SMU with more than 100 assists.
Mike Walker, with 10 points on the night, has now scored in double-figures in three of the last four games.
Heading into Saturday's game against the University of Texas at El Paso, SMU continues to look for their first win over the Miners since a 99-96 double-overtime victory in Dallas in 2008.
The Mustangs dropped a 67-57 game to UTEP on Feb. 12 on the road, ending SMU's longest winning streak since the team joined C-USA in 2005. The Miners have won 15 of the last 16 games between the teams.
Heading into Saturday's game, the Miners are on a two-game winning streak following an 82-74 win over Marshall.
Fortunately, UTEP, who also has the best field goal percentage defense, struggles on the road, having lost their last two games away from their home in El Paso.
The Miners are led by Conference USA Player of the Year Randy Culpepper, who is averaging 19.8 points per game. Culpepper scored 14 points against SMU on Feb. 12.
All fans are encouraged to wear red to show their support at Saturday's game, starting at 2 p.m. in Moody Coliseum. Tickets can be purchased at SMUMustangs.com or by calling (214) 768- 4263.
The Mustangs will travel to El Paso next week to play in the Conference USA Tournament starting on March 9 at the Don Haskins Center.