The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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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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Can men’s hoops pull off the upset of the year?

Mustangs will attempt to hand Tigers their first conference loss of the season
SMUs senior guard Jon Killen runs the offense against Marshall.
Lindsey Perkins
SMU’s senior guard Jon Killen runs the offense against Marshall.

SMU’s senior guard Jon Killen runs the offense against Marshall. (Lindsey Perkins)

In its final home game of the season, the SMU men’s basketball team will try to knock off the nation’s No. 3-ranked Memphis Tigers. SMU (9-18, 3-11) will try to hand the Tigers (28-1, 14-0) their first conference loss of the season.

Wednesday night’s contest is senior night for forward Paulius Ritter and guards Jon Killen and Derrick Roberts. The three seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony for their many contributions to SMU.

For Ritter, the game against Memphis will mark his 71st contest with the Mustangs. Ritter has one of SMU’s highest rebounds-per-minute rates and is graduating in May with a degree in economics with financial application.

Roberts is completing his second season as a Mustangs co-captain and has almost become SMU’s 35th member of the 1,000-point club. Roberts is also in the top 25 of various SMU career offensive categories. Like Ritter, Roberts will graduate in May with a degree in economics.

As for Killen, numbers cannot begin to describe his on-the-court achievements this season for the Mustangs. While his 13.1 points per game this season and 116 games played as a Mustang are astounding, his leadership and work ethic have provided younger Mustangs with an example of what it takes to succeed on the court.

Doherty described Killen’s leadership best when he commented after a game, “Having Killen on the court is great because it is like having another coach on the floor.” Killen was recognized for his excellent leadership and play this season when he won Conference USA Player of the Week on Jan. 28.

As for the game, the Mustangs will face an opponent in the Tigers that absolutely torched them in their first meeting. The Tigers won the game by a final score of 77-48 and held the Mustangs to just 18 first-half points.

The Tigers were able to dominate the game because they stopped the Mustangs’ offense and forced turnovers. Memphis forced 13 first-half turnovers and scored 25 points total off 16 total SMU turnovers.

In Memphis’ first 25 games, the team looked nearly unstoppable and on its way to an undefeated regular season. However, close games against UAB and Southern Mississippi, and a loss to Tennessee have taken away the Tigers’ appearance of invincibility.

If the Mustangs want to beat the Tigers on senior day, it will take a perfect game. This will have to start with SMU limiting the impact of the Tigers’ two leading scorers: Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose.

Douglas-Roberts is averaging 17.6 points per game, while Rose is averaging 14.2. If these two players are able to get going early, it will be tough for the Mustangs to rebound. Derrick Roberts will likely be charged with guarding the 6-7 Douglas-Roberts since he has drawn tough defensive assignments all season on players who play in similar positions.

Another task for the Mustangs on the interior will be to box out Joey Dorsey. Dorsey is averaging 10 rebounds per game and pulls down three offensive rebounds per game. Freshman Papa Dia and junior Bamba Fall have to stop him from giving the Tigers second chance scoring opportunities.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Mustangs will have to use all elements of their balanced scoring attack. SMU has four players (Killen, Fall, Roberts and Dia) averaging in double figures. If the Mustangs can work the ball successfully into the post, while shooting at a good percentage from behind the arc, they can expect to score more than 18 points in the first half.

In the last game against Memphis, the Tigers effectively took away the Mustangs’ perimeter game in the first half.

Tonight’s game agaisnst Memphis is a whiteout. Fans are wearing white shirts to support theMustangs in their final home game.

The game will take place tonight at 7 at Moody Coliseum. It will be televised on CSTV.

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