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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Seniors Killen, Roberts provide leadership for men’s basketball

After a 0-4 start to the season the SMU men’s basketball team has stepped up and won their last four games to even the Mustangs’ record to 4-4.

With seven freshmen on the team, four getting significant playing time, a lot of pressure was placed on the three seniors and one junior to lead the team. Now eight games into the season, the leadership seems to be there.

“[The win against Houston Baptist] reminded me of the Southern game where we had a nice lead and then lost it but weren’t mature enough or tough enough to win it,” head coach Matt Doherty said. “Where in this game, we were tough enough to win it.”

Doherty credited the maturity and toughness to the leadership of Jon Killen and Derrick Roberts.

Killen has handled most of the minutes on the court this season, averaging 33.75 minutes of 40 per game. The second name on that list is Roberts with 30.25 minutes a game.

“As the season wears on, it’s not the goal to have us playing that many minutes,” Killen said, “but [Doherty’s] not thinking about that with eight minutes to go in the game and it’s a tie score, sometimes you have to gut it out.”

Killen has made up for lost time on the court. Under former head coach Jimmy Tubbs, Killen was a bench player averaging 12 minutes his freshman year and 13.7 minutes his sophomore year. In his junior season, first with Doherty, Killen averaged 33.8 minutes a game and started all 31 games the Mustangs played.

But without many experienced players on the team, Roberts and Killen’s minutes will continue to stay high while the freshmen class continues to transition into the college game.

“Sometimes I always make it to where either I’m on the court and he’s on the bench or I’m on the bench and he’s on the court,” Roberts said. “To where we have somebody whose been through it and knows what it takes, one of us has to be out there and I think that’s something that coach tries to do.”

Even fellow senior Paulius Ritter has spent more time on the court this season than he has in his career at SMU. Ritter, who averaged just 4.6 minutes a game coming into this season, has seen that number rise to 16.8 minutes a game this season. And with that his production has increased as well.

As the season goes on, Killen believes the freshmen will no longer be thought of as the young guys on the court, but simply as Mustangs.

“I was on the bench at one point and coach was trying to call a play, and he looked at one of the coaches and said, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got four freshmen out there,’ but that’s going to happen,” Killen said. “By the time we’re midway through conference I’m not going to be thinking we’ve got three freshmen out there. I’ve been playing with these guys long enough to where I trust them to do what they’re supposed to do; they’re just another teammate, not the young guys.”

But for now the majority of SMU’s production will have to continue to come from Killen and Roberts.

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