Mustangs look to win at home

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SMU guard Derek Williams going for the basket against Tulsa during a game on Jan. 13. (Michael Danser / The Daily Campus )

The SMU men’s basketball team looks to continue a winning streak, following back-to-back wins against Rice and Houston Baptist last week.

The Mustangs will host the University of Central Florida (10-9, 2-3) Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum for game two of a three game home stand.

The Knights come to Moody with the series tied at 2-2, each win going to the home team.
SMU won against UCF in overtime in 2008 at Moody, but dropped a 70-45 decision to the Knights last season in Orlando.

Leading the Mustangs will be Derek Williams and Robert Nyakundi.

The pair both posted double figure scores in SMU’s 82-68 win over Houston Baptist, with Williams posting a team-high 16.8 point per game average, ranking him fourth overall in Conference USA standings.

Nyakundi, who missed the majority of pre-conference play with an injury, started his first two games of the season last week against Rice and Houston Baptist.

Since then, the 6-foot-8-inch forward has averaged 16.5 points per game, shooting 8-of-14 from the three-point range.

Coming off a 96-59 loss to the University of Texas at El Paso, UCF has been performing poorly on the road, winning just one game off their home court.

Their conference road wins were against Rice as well as an impressive 78-71 win over the Cougars in Houston.

The Knights have two players averaging double-digits in the points per game column, while the team’s rebounding performance falls to 35 boards averaged per game in comparison to SMU’s 33.6.One advantage the Mustangs may hold over the Knights is their knowledge of UCF’s 6-foot-8-inch freshman center Ketih Clanton’s playing style. According to head coach Matt Doherty, SMU tried to recruit Clanton, but were unsuccessful.

Clanton has proven to be a vital asset to the Knight’s defense. He blocked four shots and two steals in the team’s win over Houston. Since his 19-point performance against UTEP, Clanton has been averaging 10.6 points per game in conference play.

When asked how team records and statistics match up, Doherty explained that despite being ranked seventh (SMU is ranked eighth), Wednesday’s  game is going to be a good measure of both teams.

“You want your league to do well, but just not against you,” Doherty said. “So when [UCF] beat Houston in Houston, that really opened my eyes.”

But perhaps more important than the statistics, one of the Knights’ key players is Marcus Jordan, Michael Jordan’s son. The 6-foot-3-inch freshman guard has been averaging about 20 minutes with seven points and three rebounds.

“They’re pretty darn good,” Doherty said about UCF. “You go into the season and everyone has rankings and opinions . . . Well Marcus Jordan and A.J. Rompza are really tough kids.”

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