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 set to take on UCF

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SMU point guard Nic Moore has 4.6 assists per game for the Mustangs during the 2013-14 season. Photo credit: Ryan Miller

After earning the team’s biggest win of the season Sunday against The University of Connecticut, SMU will return to action Saturday in Moody Coliseum to play Central Florida at 3 p.m.

UCF is coming off their second win in 13 games, but they do have Isaiah Sykes, one of the American Athletic Conference’s top guards, who didn’t play in SMU’s 58-46 win over UCF earlier this season.

“Every game in the conference is a game you can lose. There’s more familiarity and the games are more meaningful,” SMU Head Coach Larry Brown said. “At this time of year, you can’t take any night off and expect to win.”

Sykes is averaging 16 points, just over seven rebounds and close to four assists a game this season. The 6-6, 220 pound senior from Michigan is a tough matchup for SMU guard Nick Russell to take on, but Russell has been exceptional at guarding SMU’s opponents’ best guard.

If Russell shuts down Sykes, it’s highly unlikely that UCF, one of the worst teams in the country with field goal percentage at just .437 from the field, will be able to get anything going offensively.

Tristan Spurlock, another senior at UCF, has been averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game for the Knights.

Markus Kennedy, Shawn Williams, Cannen Cunningham and Ben Moore will all likely be charged with guarding Spurlock so watch for how the group handles the 6-8, 230
pound player.

SMU is coming off its most complete game as a team and with nearly a week off following the UConn win, SMU will have fresh legs for the first of three games in a week.

One of SMU’s strengths has been the much improved depth this season and while Brown has talked about trying to pair down his rotation, he knows there are plenty of factors that can affect that on a given night.

“Foul trouble, injuries, all impact that (the rotation). We were able to play a lot of guys in the first half Sunday and some didn’t play much in the second half,” Brown said. “We’re trying to win games. We’re trying to play the guys who give us the best chance to win and that can change from game to game and half to half.”

With Yanick Moreira also returning to the lineup, SMU has a log jam in the front court, but that is a big reason why SMU has been so successful against most of their opponents in the paint.

Kennedy has been a rock for the Mustangs, averaging 12.9 points per game, 7.9 rebounds per game and close to two steals a game in AAC play.

If Kennedy can stay out of foul trouble and get into a rhythm with point guard Nic Moore, SMU should cruise to a win in Moody Coliseum.

The game tips off at 3 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNews.

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