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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Mustangs celebrate win against UTEP on senior day

Three seniors were celebrated on Saturday while the SMU men’s basketball team beat UTEP 57-48
Freshman center Cannen Cunningham attempts a basket with assistance from freshman guard Ryan Manuel during Saturday afternoons game against UTEP in Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs came out victorious, defeating the Miners 57-48.
Spencer J Eggers/The Daily Campus
Freshman center Cannen Cunningham attempts a basket with assistance from freshman guard Ryan Manuel during Saturday afternoon’s game against UTEP in Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs came out victorious, defeating the Miners 57-48.

Freshman center Cannen Cunningham attempts a basket with assistance from freshman guard Ryan Manuel during Saturday afternoon’s game against UTEP in Moody Coliseum. The Mustangs came out victorious, defeating the Miners 57-48. (Spencer J Eggers/The Daily Campus)

Three seniors were celebrated on Saturday afternoon while the SMU men’s basketball team beat Conference-USA rival UTEP 57-48 matchup in Moody Coliseum.

An 25-7 run in the first half by the Mustangs set the tone as SMU dominated the UTEP Miners.

Robert Nyukundi, Rodney Clinkscales, and Aliaksei Patsevich were honored before the game at center court for their career accomplishments. Nyukundi is close to becoming one of two SMU players in history to lead C-USA in three-point shot percentage for two consecutive years.

SMU beat UTEP in points in the paint and points off of turnovers as the Mustangs pounced on a weak UTEP defense.

Nyakundi led the Mustangs with 14 points while Clinkscales had 11 points. Leslee Smith had nine rebounds and four assists in an impressive performance.

“To me, it shows that in light of several losses our guys have continued to work and get better and that is a tribute to their character and their parents,” Coach Matt Doherty said of the team’s effort.

Nyukundi believes the team has kept the right mind set throughout the year.

The Mustangs win was only their fourth this season in C-USA play.

The Mustangs lead the conference in scoring defense allowing only 60 points per game on the year. They are 22nd in the NCAA in that category.

“A lot of teams could have backed down and coasted it,” Nyukundi said. “We came into the right attitude each and every day in practice that you know we got to get better.”

Ten players played 13 minutes or more in the game . SMU’s bench players outscored UTEP’s bench 21-15.

This game marked the tenth this year that SMU made 10 or more three-point shots.

The Mustangs outhustled and outrebounded the Miners 37-35 and shot a better percentage from the floor, which led to the Mustangs never trailing in the game.

At one point in the second half, the Mustangs led by 21 points.

An announced crowd of 3,300 was on hand to watch the Mustangs stifle the UTEP Miners and finish off their home schedule with a conference win.

UTEP was led by Julian Washburn who had 21 points and Gabriel McCulley who had six rebounds.

The Mustangs (13-18) have lost six conference games by seven points or less on the year.

The statistic is a tribute to the equity in the conference. Excluding Memphis, which Doherty believes is superior to all of the teams in the conference.

“We’ve been looking for something to get us over the hump so hopefully this will give us a lot of momentum going into the tournament,” Clinkscales said about the tough stretch of games.

The momentum-building win should give SMU a boost going into the Conference-USA tournament where Doherty has an 0-5 career record.

Coach Doherty believes that the streak will help SMU in the tournament and Nyukundi believes there is a way to get it done in the tournament.

“For the conference tournament it is a different atmosphere,” Nyukundi said. “I feel like for the conference games it’s about who comes out with the most energy.”

As the eleventh seed in the Conference-USA tournament, SMU will face sixth seeded Marshall on Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn. at 2:30 p.m. SMU lost both times it played Marshall this year. 

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