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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SMU men’s basketball takes on Houston, attempts to rebound from loss

SMU+guard+Rodney+Clinkscales+attempts+a+layup+over+ECU+guard+Brock+Young+during+play+Feb.+2+inside+Moody+Coliseum.
SPENCER EGGERS/The Daily Campus
SMU guard Rodney Clinkscales attempts a layup over ECU guard Brock Young during play Feb. 2 inside Moody Coliseum.

SMU guard Rodney Clinkscales attempts a layup over ECU guard Brock Young during play Feb. 2 inside Moody Coliseum. (SPENCER EGGERS/The Daily Campus)

After missing out on the chance to become the leading team in Conference USA standings, the SMU men’s basketball team looks to get back on a winning track as they visit the Houston Cougars (12-11, 4-6 C-USA) Wednesday night.

While head coach Matt Doherty admitted he was upset and disappointed in his team following last weekend’s loss, SMU is guaranteed no worse than a .500 record in the regular season, a first for the team under Doherty.

In the second of a two-game road trip, SMU (15-9, 6–4 C-USA) arrived in Houston following a 67-57 loss to the University of Texas at El Paso. While the Miners remains as the No. 1 team in C-USA, the Mustangs continue to find themselves caught in a two-way for fifth place with Tulsa.

SMU, establishing their best conference streak in program history, has won seven of its last 10 games. The team also continue to lead the league in field goal and three-percentage points. SMU also has the best scoring defense in C-USA, allowing only an average of 61.8 points per game.

Houston, the second-best team in the league in three’s, also has the No. 2 three-point defense in the league and could pose a problem to SMU’s Robert Nyakundi and Jeremiah Samarrippas, the team’s leading shooters from behind the arc.

In the last meeting between the teams on Jan. 15, Houston defeated SMU 70-68 at Moody Coliseum, gaining a 43-23 advantage all-time against the Mustangs.

Despite Papa Dia recording a career-high seven blocks in addition to his 23 points and 11 rebounds. It was also the fifth time of the season Dia and teammate Robert Nyakundi scored 20 or more points in the same game.

SMU outshot their opponent 56 to 42 percent from the field, but Houston tallied 11 three-pointers to seal the win.

The Cougars’ win over SMU came in the midst of a three-game streak before losing five straight and sending them to the No. 7 spot in the league.

Houston was finally able to snap out of its streak over the weekend in a win over Tulane.

SMU’s last win over Houston dates back to the 2009-2010 season when the Mustangs knocked off the Cougars in Dallas 94-83.

Prior to the win, SMU had won the previous three games, including two games when both teams were members of the Southwest Conference.

The Mustangs have faired better on their home court but, but had won two of their last three meetings on the road before Saturday’s loss to UTEP, while Houston is 10-3 on its home court.

Being held to only one field goal against UTEP, Nyakundi continues to have a strong offensive presence for the Mustangs with an average of 15.5 points per game.

Dia, leading the team with 53 blocks, also posts a team-high 18 point per game average.

Houston, with two players averaging 13 points per game, ranks second to last in scoring defense, allowing 68 points per game.

The Cougars post the third-best field goal percentage but have the worst rebounding defense in the league.

SMU, who has improved dramatically on the boards, has the second-best defensive rebounding team in C-USA.

With only six games remaining in the regular season, the Mustangs host the University of Tulsa on Saturday as part of a two-game home stand.

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