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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Last shot for Men’s hoops

SMUs Jon Killen attempts to get past the Memphis defense during Saturday nights game in Moody.
Lindsey Perkins
SMU’s Jon Killen attempts to get past the Memphis defense during Saturday night’s game in Moody.

SMU’s Jon Killen attempts to get past the Memphis defense during Saturday night’s game in Moody. (Lindsey Perkins)

After finishing the season at home with an exciting game in which the Mustangs almost upset the No. 6 team in the nation, the Memphis Tigers, SMU will have one more chance to continue the season.

With a season that started strong and slipped once the Conference USA schedule started, the Mustangs’ postseason hopes lie in the C-USA Tournament.

SMU peaked at the wrong time, playing some of their best basketball while key players were out with injuries and against the top teams in the conference. That included the play of Ike Ofoegbu, whose numbers spiked during the last seven games of the season in which he averaged 19.9 points a game and 10.9 rebounds.

The best news for the Mustangs is the return of Derrick Roberts and Bamba Fall.

Roberts, who has missed five games this season due to a knee injury, will return to the lineup after missing Saturday night’s game against Memphis. After the game, head coach Matt Doherty said that Roberts could have played, but they rested him in preparation for the tournament.

Fall missed the final six games of the regular season after breaking a bone in the ring finger on his left hand against Rice in early February.

The injury came after Fall had started the previous eight games consecutively and was averaging 6.9 points a game and 4.9 rebounds a game. Even after missing six games of the season, Fall still finished with 62 blocked shots.

The Mustangs will be playing a Southern Miss team that SMU faced only once in the conference opener on Jan. 10. In that game, the Mustangs came back from an 18-point halftime deficit to make the game interesting in the second half.

SMU fought back and took a one-point lead with 3:19 left in the game on two free throws by Devon Pearson. But the Mustangs didn’t make a shot from the floor in the final four minutes of the game, and they lost when a last-second shot attempt from Roberts hit the rim and bounced out.

In that game, Brian Epps was suspended. Epps is no longer on the team, and Roberts had been sick during the game and the days leading up to it.

This is a different Mustangs team, one that will will face the Golden Eagles with some confidence (mostly coming from Saturday’s game against Memphis) and players with different attitudes.

Ofoegbu scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds against Southern Miss the first time around. But that was before his only two single-digit scoring games against C-USA opponents, and since that game, Ofoegbu’s scoring average has risen by almost two points a game.

If the Mustangs lose, it will end the season for Donatas Rackauskas, Pearson and Ofoegbu. If they win, they go on to play Houston on Thursday afternoon.

Tip-off against the Golden Eagles is at 2:30 p.m. at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.

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