SMU men's basketball preps for pivotal Conference USA battle against Golden Hurricane
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
In SMU junior point guard Aliaksei Patsevich's first game of the season, the Mustangs look to snap a 10-game losing streak against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-9, 3-2 Conference USA) Wednesday night in Oklahoma.
Patsevich, a transfer from Collin County Community College, is expected to make an immediate impact for the Mustangs, and help SMU establish their first set of back-to-back wins in league play this season.
"I plan on [Patsevich] being a significant part of the team," head coach Matt Doherty said. "He is a great shooter who really knows how to play. He's a lot like Collin [Mangrum] in how he plays so it will be exciting to have him on the floor."
Patsevich, who missed the first 19 games of the season was cleared to play in December after the NCAA resolved issues relating to his amateur status. Joining Patsevich and Mangrum is repeat Conference USA Player of the Week, Papa Dia.
Dia, with 19.5 points, 9.5 boards and 3.5 blocks in SMU's games against Southern Miss and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was the second player in C-USA history to record to successful field goals without a miss in Saturday's win over the Golden Eagles. Dia is also the first Mustang to earn consecutive conference Player of the Week honors since the 2004-05 season.
Freshman point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas has been a tremendous addition to the Mustang offense this season. Samarrippas had a career- high nine assists against Southern Miss.
Fresh off a 79-65 win over Southern Miss, SMU (11-8, 2-3 C-USA) is 11th in the NCAA in three-point percentage and 14th in the NCAA in field goal percentage. The Mustangs are second in scoring defense in C-USA at 62.5 points allowed per game.
Despite posting the second-lowest scoring offense in the league, Saturday's win over the Golden Eagles was SMU's second-best performance in field goal shooting.
SMU, who had four players post double-digit scores, shot nearly 70 percent from the field, while holding Southern Miss, now the second-best scoring offense in C-USA to only 43 percent. Currently ranked ninth in their league, SMU, with only one road win under their belt on the entire season, has yet to win a conference game on the road.
Tulsa, also fresh off a 65-61 win over Tulane, is perfect on their home court in conference play. With four players averaging double-digit scores this season, the Golden Hurricane have become the seventh in scoring offense in C-USA.
Justin Hurtt has been averaging 20.3 points per game, making him the second-leading scorer in C-USA and 18th in the NCAA, while Steven Idlet and Scottie Haralson have been averaging 17 and 12.2 points per game, respectively.
In the last meeting between the teams, Tulsa pulled away with a 63-56 victory over the Mustangs in Dallas. With a 26-17 lead at the half, the Golden Hurricane, led by Hurtt with 17 points, clinched its 10 consecutive win over SMU.
SMU has not defeated Tulsa since a 95-83 overtime win in 1995 on the road. Tulsa leads the series 27-11.