MBB: At UTEP On Saturday At 8pm With First Place In C-USA On The Line
Feb. 11, 2011
SMU Mustangs (15-8, 6-3 C-USA) at [RV/RV] UTEP Miners (18-5, 6-2 C-USA)
The SMU Mustangs visit the UTEP Miners with first-place in Conference USA in the balance on Saturday at 8 p.m CT / 7 p.m. MT. The Mustangs are tied for fourth at 6-3, just a half-game behind league-leaders UTEP (6-2), Southern Miss (7-3) and UAB (7-3). This is the first time SMU has played a game in February or March with first-place potentially hanging in the balance since winning the Southwest Conference in 1993.
SMU has won five straight league games after a 66-61 win over Tulane on Wednesday. The five-game win streak in league play is the Mustangs' best since joining C-USA and the longest since a five-game stretch in 1999-00. SMU now has 15 wins (15-8) this year, which is already more than the total from last season when the Mustangs finished 14-17.
On the season, SMU is first in C-USA and 14th in the NCAA in field goal percentage (.488), first in C-USA and 10th in the NCAA in 3-point percentage (.412), and tops in C-USA and 18th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (.748). The Mustangs are 14-2 when shooting better than their opponent from the field and 7-2 when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor. SMU also leads the league in scoring defense at 61.6 points allowed per game.
C-USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE Papa Dia: Has won three C-USA Player of the Week Awards (Nov. 15-21, Jan. 10-16, Jan. 17-23). He is fourth in C-USA in scoring (18.0), tied for third in rebounds (8.9) and is second in blocks (2.2). He leads C-USA and is 18th in the NCAA in field goal percentage (59.4). Dia is third in C-USA with 10 double-doubles. In C-USA games, Dia has upped his averages to 19.9 points (2nd in C-USA), 9.6 rebounds (3rd) and 3.3 blocks (1st).
ALL-C-USA CANDIDATE Robert Nyakundi: He is 7th in C-USA in scoring (16.0), 1st in C-USA and 11th in the NCAA for 3FGs per game (3.0) and 1st in C-USA and 10th in the NCAA in 3FG percentage (.470, 70-149). Nyakundi also ranks 3rd in C-USA in FT percentage (.875, 49-56) and is 2nd all-time in career FT percentage for SMU (.864, 95-110). His 70 3-pointers this season are eighth in a season at SMU.
THE SERIES VS. UTEP (14-22): SMU and UTEP are meeting for the 37th time with UTEP holding an 22-14 advantage. UTEP has won 14 of the past 15 meetings with the lone exception being SMU's 99-96 double overtime win in Dallas on March 1, 2008. Jon Killen led SMU with a career-high 33 points, including 29 after halftime en route to the win. The teams have been in the same league since joining becoming Western Athletic Conference foes for the 1996-97 season. SMU held a 9-5 series edge in WAC games. SMU is 1-8 against the Miners in league games since the two joined Conference USA prior to the 2005-06 season.
UP NEXT: SMU is at Houston on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. The Mustangs then host Tulsa on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m.
LAST GAME (Feb. 9 - W, 66-61 vs. Tulane): DALLAS (AP) - Papa Dia had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead SMU to its fifth straight win, 66-61 over Tulane. Robert Nyakundi scored 13 points and Jeremiah Samarrippas scored 12 for the Mustangs (15-8, 6-3 Conference USA), who shot 64 percent from the field. It's the longest conference winning streak for the Mustangs since 1999-2000, when they were in the Western Athletic Conference. Dia was 9 for 10 from the field and posted his 10th double-double of the season. The 6-foot-9 senior also blocked three shots. Jordan Callahan and Johnny Mayhane scored 16 points apiece for Tulane (12-11, 2-8). Kris Richard scored 13 points and Kendall Timmons had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Green Wave.
LAST SEASON VS. UTEP: (Jan. 6 - L, 49-45 at UTEP): EL PASO, Texas (AP) - Derrick Caracter had 18 points as UTEP held off SMU 49-45. After SMU (5-8, 0-1 C-USA) tied the game at 41 on a basket by Derek Williams, Caracter hit two free throws and then scored on a dunk to put UTEP (10-3, 1-0) on top for good. Randy Culpepper had 14 points for the Miners, including two free throws with 49 seconds left and a layup with 6 seconds remaining after SMU pulled within 47-45 on a 3-pointer by Williams. SMU held UTEP to just 5-15 from the field in the second half, including 0-5 from 3-point range. The Miners were 10-11 at the free throw line in the second stanza. Williams had 14 points to lead SMU. Frank Otis set career-highs with nine points and 11 rebounds while starting in place of Mouhammad Faye, who missed the game with a shoulder injury. SMU won the rebound battle 28-25. Papa Dia added eight points and six rebounds. UTEP made only 3-18 3-pointers and shot 42.9 percent (18-42) from the field. SMU hit just 42.2 percent from the field (19-45). (Feb. 10 - L, 62-51 at SMU): DALLAS (AP) - Randy Culpepper scored 18 points and Derrick Caracter had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead UTEP to a 62-51 victory over SMU. Jeremy Williams added 11 points for the Miners (18-5, 9-1 C-USA). Mouhammad Faye had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Mustangs (11-12, 4-5). Papa Dia had 11 points and eight rebounds for SMU. Faye's basket just before halftime gave the Mustangs a 24-22 lead at the break--the fewest points the Miners had scored in the first half in a game this season. But UTEP quickly tied it on Williams' jumper and went ahead to stay on Julyan Stone's 3-pointer. UTEP shot 61 percent in the second half after making only 30 percent of its shots in the first half. The Miners finished the game at 44 percent while SMU ended at 31 percent.
LAST SEASON IN C-USA: The Mustangs went 7-9 in C-USA last season to finish with its most wins (7), best finish (tied for 7th) and best seed (No. 8) since joining C-USA for the 2005-06 season. SMU also recorded its first C-USA wins over Memphis and Houston. Papa Dia and Derek Williams were selected to the 2010 All-Conference USA Third Team. It was the first time SMU has had multiple All-Conference selections since the 2001-02 season (Damon Hancock 1st team, Quinton Ross 2nd team in WAC).
70+: SMU is 8-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 31-14 in such games under Doherty.
ASSISTANCE: SMU is averaging 14.3 assists, up from 10.7 last year...the squad also has a 1.1 assist/turnover ratio after a 0.8 ratio a year ago.
BUZZER-BEATER: Robert Nyakundi hit a left-corner 3-pointer off a pass from Jeremiah Samarrippas with 1.1 seconds left at Tulsa for the 59-58 win on Jan. 26. It was the first buzzer-beating win for the Mustangs since Dez Willingham hit a left-wing 3-pointer as time expired in a 64-62 victory at TCU on Dec. 21, 2006.
COMEBACK: SMU overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat Memphis 64-58 on Jan. 12. SMU also overcame 13-point deficits in the 46-41 win against East Carolina on Feb. 2 and a 59-58 victory at Tulsa on Jan. 26. The Mustangs have nine double-digit comebacks under Doherty.
C-USA FIRSTS: The Mustangs have won five straight league games for the first time since joining C-USA. (The 5-game streak matches the longest since 1999-00 in the Western Athletic Conference.) SMU also went on the road for two consecutive league games and won both for the first time in C-USA, winning 59-58 at Tulsa on Jan. 26 and 75-68 at Rice on Jan. 29. (The last time SMU swept a two-game league road-trip was 2002-03 in the Western Athletic Conference.)
DEFENSE-DEFENSE: SMU is leading C-USA in scoring defense, allowing 61.6 points per game. The Mustangs finished 3rd last season allowing just 64.5 points per contest.
FG PERCENTAGE: The Mustangs are 14-2 when shooting a higher percentage and 1-6 when shooting a lower percentage than their opponent...SMU is 7-2 when shooting 50 percent or better.
FREE THROWS: SMU leads C-USA and is 18th in the NCAA in FT percentage (.748)...that is up from .700 last year and near the school record of .769 in 1961-62. Robert Nyakundi is 3rd in C-USA (.875) and Papa Dia is 10th in C-USA (.792).
LONG RANGE: SMU leads C-USA and is 17th in the NCAA in 3-point field goals per game (8.7).
NCAA IMPROVEMENT: The Mustangs average rank is 117.8 in the 18 NCAA team categories. That includes five top-20 rankings. The average is up from 181.1 last season. There are 336 teams ranked this season.
NOT FOUR FREE: SMU went 4-4 on free throws in the 59-58 win at Tulsa. It was the fewest free throws attempted by SMU since going 2-2 at Rice in a 66-64 overtime loss on Dec. 30, 2004.
NOTHING E-C-4-U: SMU held East Carolina to 25.5 percent (12-47) from the field on Feb. 2. ECU didn't score a field goal in the last 14:02 of the game as SMU overcame a 13-point deficit in the 46-41 win. It was the lowest shooting percentage all-time by an SMU opponent in a Conference USA game.
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY: SMU hit 23-36 FGs (63.9%) in a 66-61 win over Tulane 2/9. The 36 FG attempts was the lowest for SMU since hitting 11-36 (30.6%) in a 53-48 win over Dayton on Nov. 18, 2006.
SCORING ENOUGH TO WIN: SMU rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat East Carolina 46-41 on Feb. 2. It was the fewest points for SMU in a win since a 44-38 victory over Texas A&M on Feb. 11, 1992.
SHARP-SHOOTERS: The Mustangs are 1st in C-USA and 18th in the NCAA in FT percentage (.748), 1st in C-USA and 14th in the NCAA in FG percentage (.488), and 1st in C-USA and 8th in the NCAA in 3FG percentage (.412). Those are all improvements over last season when SMU was .700 at the FT line (137th in NCAA), .457 on FGs (61st in NCAA), and .358 on 3FGs (120th in NCAA). SMU is also leading C-USA in FG percentage in league play (.507).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: SMU is 5-0 in C-USA when having fewer turnovers than its opponent and 1-3 when having more turnovers that its opposition.
Rodney Clinkscales: Has made a career-high 34 3-pointers (27 in 2009-10)...averaging a career-best 6.9 points...3rd on the team in 3FG percentage (.420, 34-81).
Papa Dia: Team tri-captain...Preseason All-C-USA, C-USA Player of the Week 3 times (Nov. 15-21, Jan. 10-16, Jan. 17-23), SMU Invitational MVP (Nov. 19-21)...has 10 double-doubles this season and 23 for his career...ranks 4th in C-USA with a career-high 18.0 points (12.3 in 2009-10), T-3rd in C-USA in rebounds (8.9), 1st in C-USA and 18th in the NCAA in FG percentage (.594), 10th in C-USA in FT percentage (.792), and 2nd in C-USA for blocked shots (2.2)...he has scored at least 20 points 11 times and has at least 8 rebounds 18 times...CONSECUTIVE C-USA POTW: Dia earned C-USA Player of the Week on Jan. 17 and Jan. 24, and is the first Mustang to earn consecutive awards since 2004-05 (Bryan Hopkins Dec. 20, Dec. 27 in the WAC)...PAPA SAID BLOCK YOUR SHOT: Has a career-high 48 blocked shots this season, which is T-11th in a season at SMU...had a career-high 7 against Houston 1/15...FG PERCENTAGE: His 59.4 FG percentage this season is 5th at SMU...he is 51.3 percent on FGs for his career, which is 10th at SMU.
Ryan Harp: Team tri-captain...started 8 games...averaging 2.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 18.9 minutes.
JUSTIN HAYES: Started 13 games...hitting .607 (51-84) on FGs this year after .609 (67-110) last season...he is averaging 5.7 points...scored a career-high 21 points at Tulane 1/8.
Collin Mangrum: Has started the last 7 games...averaging 4.6 points and 1.8 rebounds...in C-USA games, he is averaging 7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals (T-5th C-USA) while shooting .483 (29-60) on FGs...had a season-high 15 points in the wins over Memphis 1/12 and Southern Miss 1/22.
Robert Nyakundi: Has a career-best 70 3-pointers this year (8th at SMU)...has at least 15 points 14 times and at least 20 points 8 times...he is 7th in C-USA in scoring (16.0), 1st in C-USA and 11th in the NCAA for 3FGs per game (3.0) and 1st in C-USA and 10th in the NCAA in 3FG percentage (.470, 70-149)...he is 3rd C-USA in FT percentage (.875, 49-56)...he is 2nd all-time career FT percentage for SMU (.864, 95-110)...BUZZER-BEATER: Nyakundi hit a left-corner 3-pointer off a pass from Jeremiah Samarrippas with 1.1 seconds left at Tulsa for the 59-58 win on Jan. 26...CAREER-DAY: Had career-highs of 29 points and 7 3-pointers (7-11) with 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the 75-68 win at Rice 1/29.
Jeremiah Samarrippas: Started 18 games as a freshman...averaging 7.0 points...ranks 6th in C-USA with a 2.0 assist/turnover ratio (84 ast / 42 to)...he is 8th in C-USA in assists (3.7)...In C-USA games, he is 6th in assists (4.1), 3rd in assist/turnover ratio (2.3, 37 ast/ 16 to) and T-5th in steals (1.6)...had a season-high 9 assists with 1 turnover in the win against Southern Miss 1/22.
Mike Walker: Team tri-captain...has started 18 games this year...averaging a career-best 6.6 points (5.4 in 2007-08)...is shooting 42.3 percent from 3-point range (30-71)...had 5 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer, in the final 2:35 of the 46-41 win over East Carolina 2/2.
SMU Career Rebounds: Papa Dia is 8th 780 (7th Jeff Swanson 785, 6th Willie Davis 790, 5th Jim Krebs 840)
SMU Career Blocks: Papa Dia is 6th 116 (5th Reggie Franklin 129)
SMU Career FT%: Robert Nyakundi is 2nd 86.4 (95-110) (1st Eric Longino 88.4 (99-112), 3rd Charles Beasley 83.9 (270-322))
8+ rebounds: Papa Dia 2 (13, 11)
Dbl-Dbl: Papa Dia 2 (13 pts, 13 rebs; 24 pts, 11 rebs)
3+ steals: Collin Mangrum (3)
2+ blocks: Papa Dia (3)
SMU RECORDS: Additions to the SMU record book this season
FG PCT - 72.3 (34-47) Lamar 11/21 - 1st
- 69.8 (30-43) Southern Miss 1/22 - 2nd (1st in a C-USA game)
3FGM - 16 (16-37) UC Riverside 11/20 - 1st
- 13 (13-26) Wayland Baptist 11/24 - T-5th
3FGA - 37 (16-37) UC Riverside 11/20 - 1st
3FG PCT - 66.7 (12-18) Southern Miss 1/22 - 3rd
- 60.0 (9-15) Lamar 11/21 - 5th
3FGM - Robert Nyakundi 7 (7-11) at Rice 1/29 - T-2nd (T-1st C-USA games)
3FGA - Rodney Clinkscales 13 (6-13) UC Riverside 11/20 - T-7th
- Robert Nyakundi 13 (3-13) at Louisiana Tech 12/1 - T-7th
FT% - Robert Nyakundi 100 (10-10) SE Missouri St 12/29 - T-1st
BLOCKED SHOTS - Papa Dia 7 Houston 1/15 - T-3rd
NetScoutsBasketball.com C-USA Player of the Week: Papa Dia (Jan. 22-28)
C-USA Player of the Week: Papa Dia (Jan. 17-23)
C-USA Player of the Week: Papa Dia (Jan. 10-16)
C-USA Player of the Week: Papa Dia (Nov. 15-21)
Preseason All-Conference USA - USA Today: Papa Dia
Preseason All-Conference USA - Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook: Papa Dia
Preseason All-Conference USA - Athlon Sports: Papa Dia
Preseason All-Conference USA - C-USA Coaches: Papa Dia (Second Team)
Preseason All-Conference USA - Lindy's College Basketball: Papa Dia (Second Team)
2009-10 (Returnees Only)
All-Conference USA - Papa Dia (Third Team)
2008-09 (Returnees Only)
C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll - Tomasz Kwiatkowski
2007-08 (Returnees Only)
Conference USA All-Freshman - Papa Dia
Papa Dia - C-USA CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN. 17-23): Dia averaged 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in games against UAB and Southern Miss to repeat as C-USA Player of the Week. Dia tallied 23 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and was 10-of-10 on field goals in the 79-65 win over Southern Miss Saturday. He is just the second player in C-USA history to record 10 made field goals without a miss. In the second half, Dia shot 7-of-7 to total 17 points, six rebounds and two blocks as SMU pulled away. SMU shot 69.8 percent from the floor against the Golden Eagles, a performance that ranks second in SMU history and second by any C-USA team in a conference game. At UAB, Dia had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks as he tallied his fourth straight double-double. This is his third Player of the Week honor this season and for his career. Dia is the first Mustang to earn consecutive conference Player of the Week awards since 2004-05 (Bryan Hopkins Dec. 20, Dec. 27 in the WAC).
Papa Dia - C-USA PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN. 10-16): SMU senior forward Papa Dia was named the C-USA Player of the Week. Dia averaged 22.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 4.0 blocks, 2.5 assists and 2.5 steals in games against Memphis and Houston. Dia had double-doubles in both games as he hit 60 percent from the floor (15-25) and 83.3 percent on free throws (15-18). Against Houston, he scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked a career-high seven shots. The seven blocks was also an SMU record in a C-USA game. In the 64-58 win against Memphis, he had 22 points and 10 rebounds. Dia also hit 5-of-6 free throws and grabbed two rebounds in the final 32 seconds to help seal the victory.
Papa Dia - C-USA PLAYER OF THE WEEK (NOV. 15-21): SMU senior forward Papa Dia was named the C-USA Player of the Week. Dia averaged 18.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 71.8 percent (28-39) from the field in four games. He was named MVP of the SMU Invitational as he helped the Mustangs win the event. For the tournament, he averaged 20.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, 1.3 assists and a steal. He finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds in a 102-70 win against Lamar. He also had 20 points and nine rebounds in a 69-53 victory over Portland State. This is his first career Player of the Week honor.
WILLIAMS JOINS MUSTANGS: Shawn Williams joined the SMU men's basketball team when he enrolled at SMU on Jan. 11. Williams, a 6-7, 225-lb. forward, arrives at SMU from Texas, where he played in seven of the Longhorns' first eight games in 2009-10 before missing the remainder of the season with an ankle injury. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he will have to sit out one academic year and can become eligible when grades are posted at the end of the Fall 2011 semester. He will have three years of eligibility remaining. Williams was ranked the No. 46 prospect nationally and the No. 2 prospect in the state coming out of high school in 2009. He was also named the 2009 Dallas Morning News Area Player of the Year. In his sophomore season (2006-07), Williams led Duncanville to a 39-0 record, the Class 5A state title and the mythical high school national championship.
PATSEVICH MAKES DEBUT ON JAN. 26: SMU junior guard Aliaksei Patsevich made his debut for SMU at Tulsa. Patsevich was cleared to practice by the NCAA beginning Dec. 22 after resolving issues relating to his amateur status. He has 3 points and a steal in 12 minutes in the 59-58 win at Tulsa. Patsevich played 28 games last season at Collin County CC, averaging 10.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 35 percent from 3-point range.
ALBON HEAD TO BE HONORED WITH SAM AWARD: SMU alumnus Albon Head will be honored with the Silver Anniversary Mustang Award at the Jan. 22 game against Southern Miss. Head played football at SMU from 1966-68 including the 1966 SWC Championship and 1968 Bluebonnet Bowl victory when he served as co-captain. From 1968-70, Head served as a graduate assistant coach of freshman and scout team defensive backs. He earned a Bachelor's in History in 1969 and a Juris Doctor from the Dedman School of Law in 1971. He is a past chairman of the SMU Alumni Association and ex officio member of the SMU Board of Trustees. Head is an executive board member of the SMU Dedman School of Law and SMU-in-Taos, and is the chairman of the SMU Athletic Forum & Doak Walker Award. Head is a partner in the Jackson Walker L.L.P. Fort Worth office. In the community, he is the vice chairman of The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate. He is also a board member for the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, Fort Worth Sister Cities International and Downtown Fort Worth Inc. The annual award, which was initiated in 1991, is the most prestigious award given by the Lettermen's Association. To be selected as the SAM Award winner, an individual must have graduated from SMU at least 25 years ago and have made significant, positive and lasting impact on his/her community.
SUCCESS ON THE HILLTOP:
- The SMU football team finished 7-7 after a heartbreaking 16-14 loss to Army in the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. It is the second straight bowl for SMU after a 45-10 win over Nevada in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. This season also saw SMU win the Conference USA West Division for the second straight season and make its first trip to the C-USA Championship game, falling 17-7 at UCF on Dec. 4.
- The women's tennis team is ranked No. 27 in the ITA entering the spring season. Junior Marta Lesniak is ranked No. 2, the highest mark in school history. Lesniak and Heather Steinbauer are No. 29 in doubles. The squad has made the second round of the NCAA each of the past two seasons and won the 2009 C-USA title.
- The No. 5 seed SMU men's soccer team (16-2-2) tied No. 4 seed North Carolina in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship on Dec. 3. The Tar Heels advanced to the College Cup with a 4-2 edge in the penalty kick shootout. SMU also won the C-USA regular-season title.
- The SMU volleyball team (25-6, 17-3 C-USA) finished second in Conference USA and set a school record for wins. The Mustangs had an RPI of 47 and were the highest rated team to miss NCAA selection.
TV TIME: SMU, CBS College Sports Network and Time Warner Cable reached an agreement to televise 17 SMU basketball games on The Texas Channel. Time Warner Sports will carry 10 men's games and seven women's games. The television schedule begins with a doubleheader on Dec. 4 when the women host Kansas at 2 p.m. and the men face Grambling State at 5 p.m. The SMU men's basketball matchups on The Texas Channel include all eight home Conference USA contests - Memphis, Houston, Southern Miss, East Carolina, Tulane, Tulsa, Rice, and UTEP. The Texas Channel will also carry the men's game at UTEP on Feb. 12.
SMU INVITATIONAL CHAMPS: The Mustangs won the SMU Invitational played Nov. 19-21. SMU finished 2-1 in the tournament; defeating Portland State 69-53 and Lamar 102-70. Portland State also finished 2-1, giving SMU the tiebreaker. SMU's loss came in overtime, 73-69 against UC Riverside. Papa Dia was named tournament MVP and Robert Nyakundi made the all-tournament team. The Mustangs established three school records, including a school-best 72.3 FG percentage (34-47) against Lamar and records for 3-pointers made (16) and attempted (37) against UC Riverside.
THE BIG PICTURE (NOTES ENTERING THE 2010-11 SEASON)
ALL-CONFERENCE USA: Papa Dia and Derek Williams were selected to the 2010 All-Conference USA Third Team. It was the first time SMU has had multiple All-Conference selections since the 2001-02 season (Damon Hancock 1st team, Quinton Ross 2nd team in WAC).
C-USA BEST: The Mustangs went 7-9 in C-USA last season to finish with its most wins (7), best finish (tied for 7th) and best seed (No. 8) since joining C-USA for the 2005-06 season. SMU also recorded its first C-USA wins over Memphis and Houston.
COACHES VS. CANCER: THe Mustangs participated in the Coaches vs. Cancer® Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, Jan. 28-30, as basketball coaches nationwide wore sneakers with their suits to demonstrate their support for the American Cancer Society and its vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that empowers coaches, their teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer. The Mustangs wore sneakers at Rice on Jan. 29. (W, 75-68)
DEFENSE: In 2009-10, SMU finished second in C-USA for scoring defense in league play at 61.0. That is the best for SMU since holding opponents to 60.9 points per outing in 1958-59. SMU has held its C-USA opponents to an average of 11.9 points below their scoring average (entering that game). Only three C-USA opponents reached their scoring average.
FUTURE - NLIs: Head Coach Matt Doherty announced that four student-athletes signed National Letters-of-Intent to play for the Mustangs beginning with the 2011-12 season. The class includes Cannen Cunningham, a four-star 6-8 center from Lamar High School in Arlington; Jalen Jones, a 6-6 three-star guard from Kimball High School in Dallas; Eric Norman, a two-star 6-6 forward from Francis W. Parker School in San Diego; and Ryan Manuel, a 6-4 three-star guard from Fort Bend Austin High School in Houston. - "Overall, this is one of the best recruiting classes SMU has had in recent history," says Doherty. "I am thrilled with this group of young men. By adding this class with last year's class, we have a foundation that will translate into success on the court for years to come."
NEW ASSISTANTS: The Mustangs have two new assistant coaches in Larry Mangino and Jerry Hobbie. Mangino enters SMU with 24 years of collegiate coaching experience. He spent the last two years in player development for the Denver Nuggets after a seven-year stretch at the Air Force Academy. Hobbie comes to the Hilltop with 12 years in collegiate coaching. He spent the previous three years at Houston, making the postseason each year including the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
NBA: For the third season, the NBA's Dallas Mavericks held training camp at SMU's Crum Basketball Center.
NCAA SELECTION: SMU Director of Athletics Steve Orsini is a member of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee, receiving a five-year appointment that began Sept. 1, 2010. The 10-member committee consists of athletics directors and commissioners of Division I member institutions and conferences, and oversees administration of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, including the selection, seeding and bracketing of teams for the tournament. The committee is the primary NCAA contact with CBS Sports, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and other key basketball organizations. Committee members oversee selected preliminary round sites, as well as the Final Four, and assign officiating crews for each game of the championship. The committee also serves as stewards for the good of the game, monitoring and taking action as appropriate regarding issues affecting college basketball.
NEXT LEVEL: The last three seniors from SMU are playing professionally. Two are in the NBA D-League: Bamba Fall (Reno Bighorns) and Mouhammad Faye (Rio Grande Valley Vipers). Derek Williams is playing in Latvia.
PRESEASON HONORS: Papa Dia was selected preseason All-Conference USA by Blue Ribbon College Yearbook and All-C-USA second-team by the league's coaches. Last year, he led the team and was fifth in C-USA in rebounds (8.6) while also ranking second on the team and 17th in C-USA in scoring (12.3). Additionally, Dia finished fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.544), sixth in free throw percentage (.800) and sixth in blocked shots (1.2). In C-USA games, he averaged 13.9 points (13th C-USA), 9.1 rebounds (4th C-USA), and 1.4 blocks (4th C-USA). He had 10 double-doubles for the season.
SENIORS: SMU has six seniors this season with Papa Dia, Ryan Harp, Tomasz Kwiatkowski, Myles Luttman, Collin Mangrum and Mike Walker. Dia, Harp, Kwiatkowski, and Walker are the first four-year student-athletes for Coach Matt Doherty. SMU had just two seniors in 2009-10 (Mouhammad Faye, Derek Williams) and one in 2008-09 (Bamba Fall).
SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT: SMU improved statistically in league play in 15 of 20 categories kept by C-USA.
STAYING AT HOME: The Mustangs play an SMU-record 19 home games at Moody Coliseum in 2010-11.
HEAD COACH Matt Doherty...is in his 10th season as a head coach and his fifth season at SMU. This is his 20th season in collegiate coaching with eight NCAA Tournaments, seven conference titles, a Final Four appearance and the 2001 AP National Coach of the Year award. He also has 22 players that have gone to the NBA. He has a 152-154 record including a 62-83 mark on the Hilltop.