SMU men's basketball prepares for Rice
Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Following a disappointing loss to Tulsa University last weekend, the SMU men's basketball team hosts the Rice Owls Wednesday night in Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs have won six of their last eight games, including two of the past three on their home court.
In SMU's last game, poor ball control, numerous turnovers and missed rebounds gave Tulsa 34 points off the Mustangs' mistakes.
Fortunately for SMU (16-10, 7-5 Conference USA), the poor defensive showing did nothing to SMU's strong field goal and three-point percentage.
SMU still has the highest field goal, free throw and three-point percentage in the league. In the NCAA, the Mustangs are eighth in both field goal percentage and shots behind the arc.
Papa Dia, a contender for C-USA Player of the Year, is fourth in scoring in the conference with an average of 18.3 points per game. Dia, also first in field goal percentage and third in three-point percentage, also leads with his team in blocks with 57 on the season.
SMU also has Robert Nyakundi, the league's leader in three-pointers. Nykundi has 79 three's on the season after the loss to Tulsa, the fourth most for an SMU player in a single season.
Rice University (12-4, 4-8 C-USA), who comes to Dallas fresh off itsfirst win over Memphis University in the school's history, has only won two conference games on the road this season.
The Owls, led by sophomore Arsalan Kazemi, held a 35-36 lead at the break before extending their lead to 20 points over the Tigers with only 1:46 left to play in regulation. After last weekend, Rice, with no more than two consecutive wins during the regular season, remains in a two-way tie for seventh place with University of Houston.
Kazemi, with a 15.7 point per game average and 11.5 rebounds per game, ranks eighth in the conference in points scored and first in the league and fourth in the NCAA in rebounds.
Rice also has Tamir Jackson and Connor Frizzelle averaging 13.5 and 10.8 points per game, respectively.
As a team, Rice ranks last in the league in points made behind the arc and second to last in field goal percentage, averaging only 67.5 points per game this season.
On defense, the Owls have the best rebounding defense percentage in the league, while SMU ranks last in offensive and defensive rebound percentages.
In the 192nd meeting between the teams, SMU holds a 116-74 advantage, dating back to 1918 when both teams were members of the Southwest Conference. In 1996, both teams joined the Western Athletic Conference before becoming members of Conference USA in 2005.
Since joining the current league, SMU is 6-4 against the Owls, having won six of the last seven match ups.
In the last meeting between the teams, Nyakundi scored a career-high of 29 points, including seven three-pointers, in the team's 75-68 win in Houston. The win also marked SMU's third consecutive win at the time, eventually building up to the team's five-game winning streak that had them just one game out of first place in C-USA standings.
SMU's winning streak was snapped two weeks ago in a road loss to the University of Texas at El Paso.
After this week's game against Rice, SMU has only three games left before playing in the Conference USA Championship starting on March 9.