SMU men's basketball go for fifth straight win; look to avenge loss against Tulane
Published: Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Riding the best winning streak since joining Conference USA in 2005, the SMU men's basketball team is going for its fifth consecutive win Wednesday night when they host Tulane University at Moody Coliseum.
In their second meeting against Tulane this season, the Mustangs looks for the opportunity to free themselves from a three-way tie for fourth place.
Last month's game against the Green Wave resulted in a 79-70 SMU loss.
But with SMU leading the conference in field goal and free throw percentages and coming off its best defensive showing of the season last week, the Mustangs are more than prepared to defend their home court.
"You can be too hard on a team on a winning streak and they don't get to enjoy it," head coach Matt Doherty said. "Or you can be too loose with a team that's on a winning streak and it slips. Knock on wood hopefully we'll maintain a high level of focus each game."
In its win over East Carolina University last week, SMU held their opponent to only 26 percent in shooting from the field, while preventing the Pirates from scoring a single field goal in the final 14 minutes of play.
Leading the league in scoring defense, the Mustangs have been holding their opponent to an average of 62 points per game. SMU also boasts the third best rebounding defense in the league.
The Mustang offense has also shown improvement since its downfall to the Green Wave.
With the No. 14 field goal percentage in the NCAA, SMU continues to be led by senior Papa Dia and junior Robert Nyakundi with an average of 17.9 and 16.1 points per game, respectively.
"We feel like if we play we can beat anybody in our league, but we are also realistic to know that if you don't play you lose to anybody in our league," Doherty said.
However, SMU could struggle against Tulane's three-point attack.
The Green Wave won the last meeting after shooting 40 percent from the long range. Despite being able to hit threes, SMU is last in the league in defending shots from outside the arc.
Tulane, currently on a seven game skid (their last win was the game against SMU on Jan. 8), is ranked last in C-USA in field goal and free-throw percentages.
Led by the trio of Kendall Timmons, Jordan Callahan and Kris Richard, all with double figure point averages, Tulane has the advantage over SMU in offensive rebounds and steals and commits fewer turnovers on average.
SMU posts better figures in defensive rebounds and blocked shots. Last time these teams met, Tulane hosted SMU on a five-game streak while SMU had just fallen from five consecutive wins after a loss against Ole Miss.
SMU's last win over the Green Wave dates back to Feb. 6, 2010. In the 24th meeting between the schools, SMU holds a slight 12-11 lead in the series but the teams remain tied at 3-3 in conference play.