SMU looks to stay hot, hosts last-place Houston on Saturday

Larry Brown’s sizzling Mustangs enter a Saturday night showdown with Houston riding a five-game win streak. SMU is heading in an opposite direction than its old Southwest Conference rival; the Mustangs are 5-1 in American Athletic Conference play and have won 13 of their last 14 games, while Houston has trudged to an 0-7 conference record, last in the AAC.

Last time out, SMU used a strong second half to knock off Tulane, 66-52 in New Orleans. Nic Moore led three Mustangs in double figures with 18 points and also dished out seven assists. SMU has a 45:22 assist-to-turnover ratio in its last 100 minutes of play, and it faces a Houston defense that surrenders 68.0 points per game, 220th-best in the country.

The Cougars haven’t been great on offense either. They shoot the ball at a miserable 38.9 percent clip and possess a weak 12:15 assist-to-turnover ratio. No Houston guard that plays significant minutes shoots over 40 percent from the field. SMU ranks 29th nationally with 59.2 points allowed per game and has held its last four opponents to under 40 percent shooting. That doesn’t bode well for Kelvin Sampson’s offensively-challenged team.

Jherrod Stiggers leads Houston with 14.8 points per game, but has floundered in his past three games, making five of his last 36 field goal attempts and just one of his last 20 three-point attempts.

This will be SMU and Houston’s first meeting since last March in the second round of the American Athletic Conference tournament. Houston squeezed out a 68-64 win, which many believe was the dagger in SMU’s NCAA tournament chances. However, SMU won its last home matchup with Houston, 68-64 on Feb. 19.

Saturday’s game will tip off at 5:00 p.m. central time from Moody Coliseum and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.


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