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 basketball looks to bounce back from loss

The Mustangs hope to have Devon Pearson (left) in Saturdays match-up against Rice.
The Mustangs hope to have Devon Pearson (left) in Saturday’s match-up against Rice.

The Mustangs hope to have Devon Pearson (left) in Saturday’s match-up against Rice.

After one of the worst losses of the season, the Mustangs will look to rebound against the Rice Owls Saturday night.

SMU lost to the Owls by three points just over two weeks ago. In that game, the Mustangs were able to control league-leading scorer Morris Almond in the first half, but a strong second half, including a game winning three-point shot, gave Rice the 63-60 win.

On Wednesday night the Mustangs had a chance to avenge a close loss at home against UTEP. That did not work well for SMU, who lost at Moody by five points and lost in El Paso by 29.

The Mustangs did two things that head coach Matt Doherty didn’t want them to do in El Paso: The team didn’t come out strong and got into foul trouble early.

And SMU could be facing the same issues they did Wednesday night with a short bench.

Bamba Fall’s injury and Brian Epps’ dismissal reduces the number of scholarship players to eight, and Devon Pearson’s leg injury still leaves his playing status at questionable. That would leave the Mustangs with just seven players for the second consecutive game.

While SMU surely missed Pearson’s offense against the Miners, they also missed his rebounding. For only the eighth time this season, the Mustangs were out-rebounded by UTEP. It was also the biggest margin of the season at 17.

SMU has also had the misfortune of playing teams when they get hot.

In the Mustangs’ first loss to Houston this season, the Cougars shot the highest percentage they have all season from the floor, 56 percent, and in the second meeting Houston shot the best they had in the previous three games.

The Mustangs lost their first game against UTEP to kick off a three-game losing streak. SMU lost the second meeting to break UTEP’s three-game losing streak.

Now the Mustangs need to start making some breaks for themselves.That will start with one man: Ike Ofoegbu.

Ofoegbu has a double-double in his last four games and has scored in double digits for the last nine.

But it only starts with Ofoegbu. In those nine games SMU is just 3-6, and 1-3 in his consecutive double-double games. The one win was when there were five Mustangs who scored in double figures, and Ofoegbu wasn’t the leading scorer.

Jon Killen did his part in Wednesday’s loss with a career-high 20 points, but after Ofoegbu’s 14 points and Dez Willingham’s 11 points, the other five players scored just 11 points combined.

The Mustangs have also had issues scoring points late in games. They didn’t score in the final five minutes against Tulane, UAB or Southern Miss. Going the final eight minutes of a game without scoring a basket like they did against UTEP will not result in wins.

The only game that the Mustangs won out of those four was a two-point victory over Tulane. After that game Doherty said, “you have to be able to finish games and we couldn’t do that tonight.”

That has since been a reccurring issue for SMU.

One thing that could help the Mustangs is that Rice will be playing on short rest and will be coming off a 99-63 loss in Memphis.

In order for the Mustangs to have success against Rice, they will need to keep Almond’s point total down, stay out of foul trouble, and get offensive contributions from everyone.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Houston.

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