The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Men’s hoops to play for 10th seed in Conference USA Tournament

SMUs Derrick Roberts dribbles past rival UAB in Saturdays 53-79 loss to the Blazers.
Lindsey Perkins
SMU’s Derrick Roberts dribbles past rival UAB in Saturday’s 53-79 loss to the Blazers.

SMU’s Derrick Roberts dribbles past rival UAB in Saturday’s 53-79 loss to the Blazers. (Lindsey Perkins)

The SMU men’s basketball team, winless in its last four games, will try to improve on its Conference USA standing tonight at East Carolina.

The Pirates have lost five games in a row and, like the Mustangs, are 8-17 overall and 2-10 in the conference. The loser of tonight’s game will fall to 11th place in the 12-team league, while the winner will be in prime position for the 10th seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

The game is set to tip off at 6 p.m. and will air on the radio on KAAM 770 AM.

SMU hopes to take advantage of a rickety Pirates defense, which gave up 201 points in two road games last week. East Carolina is coming off a 91-62 loss to Texas-El Paso on Saturday and has lost its last two contests by an average of 32 points.

SMU, on the other hand, is coming off a moral victory of sorts – or at least a victory in the first half of its game Saturday versus Alabama-Birmingham.

The Mustangs led UAB, the conference’s second-place team, by three points at halftime and stretched their lead to eight points with about 15 minutes remaining. But the Blazers’ Robert Vaden caught fire, sinking seven three pointers in a 32-9 UAB run. Vaden finished with 24 points, and the Blazers escaped Moody Coliseum with a 73-59 victory.

After the game, SMU head coach Matt Doherty remarked, “I was proud of our guys to be in a position, with our record, to come into a game against a team like UAB…and be in a position deep into the second half to win.”

The Mustangs hope to perform more consistently during both halves tonight as they try for their first road victory in conference play this season.

SMU is led in scoring and assists by point guard Jon Killen, who tallied a team-high 21 points in Saturday’s loss.

Killen, who knocked down six three-pointers versus UAB, is third in the league in three pointers per game (3.25) and three-point field goal percentage (.438). In his last two games, Killen has hit nine three-pointers and is averaging 16.5 points.

The Mustangs also will rely on junior center Bamba Fall, who has scored in double digits in six consecutive games. The 7-foot-2-inch center is fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.551) and second in blocks (1.92) during conference play.

While its defense has been an anomaly this season, East Carolina has a few offensive weapons to rely on.

The Pirates are led by senior guard Darrell Jenkins, who leads the conference in assists at six per game. East Carolina is fourth in the league in assists and second in three-point shooting percentage.

Sam Hinnant leads the Pirates in scoring with 10.3 points per game.

After tonight’s game, the Mustangs will return to Moody for their final two home games this season.

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