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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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Mustangs try to end two-game skid

The SMU men’s basketball team, nine days removed from its 18-point loss to archrival Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth, tries to even its record tonight when it faces the Texas A&M-International Dustdevils at 7 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.

The Mustangs (2-3) have struggled to get big men Papa Dia and Bamba Fall to contribute on offense this season. Fall, who averaged 11.8 points last season, has managed only 7.4 this year. In last Wednesday’ game against TCU, Fall got off only four field goal attempts.

Dia, an All-Conference USA Freshman Team selection last season, has contributed only 5.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game this season.

“We need to get tougher in our interior,” said head coach Matt Doherty. “We’re not getting rebounds.”

The game against TCU capped a stretch of four games in six days. Earlier that week, the Mustangs finished 2-1 in the SMU Tip-Off Classic at Moody Coliseum. Doherty said the grueling week may have worn his team out.

“If I could do it all over again, would I schedule like that? Probably not,” said Doherty. “As a team, you don’t form habits in games. You form habits in practice. And we didn’t have the quality practices that we needed as a team.”

The Mustangs have two new starting guards this season in freshman Paul McCoy and junior college transfer Derek Williams. The duo leads the Mustangs in points (27.4 combined per game), but each has struggled with turnovers. Williams has a team-high 17, and McCoy has 13.

On the flip side, the duo has combined for 19 steals, which often have led to fast-break points. The Mustangs desperately needed to add more quickness to their roster coming into this season, and the quickness of McCoy and Williams has allowed a more up-tempo style of offense.

In a true display of balance, SMU has forced 17 turnovers per game and has committed 17 turnovers per game this season.

The Mustangs get a break for finals week before returning to action Dec. 15 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. They travel to Texas A&M University, of the Big 12, on Dec. 17. The Aggies made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.

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