March 9, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
C-USA Championship First Round
 SMU Mustangs (9-20, 3-13 C-USA) vs.  HOUSTON Cougars (19-10, 10-6 C-USA)
Wed. Mar. 11 - 8:30pm
FedExForum (18,400) - Memphis, Tennessee
Radio: KAAM 770 AM (Rich Phillips, Herman Hudson)
Internet: Mustang All-Access
The SMU Mustangs (9-20, 3-13 C-USA) begin Conference USA Championship play against the No. 5 seed Houston Cougars (19-10, 10-6 C-USA) at the FedExForum in Memphis on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. The winner will face No. 4 seed UTEP (19-11, 0-6 C-USA) on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
The Mustangs finished the regular season with an 89-77 loss at Houston. The last time the Mustangs faced a team in the regular-season finale and then in the opener of the conference tournament was 2006 when SMU fell at Rice 68-66 then won 61-59 in the first round of the Conference USA Championship in Memphis.
SMU trails Houston 40-22 in the all-time series, but does hold a 6-4 edge in tournament play: 2-1 in NCAA Tournament action and 4-3 in conference tournament games (all from the Southwest Conference). The last time the teams squared off in a league tournament game was a 62-57 SMU win at Reunion Arena in Dallas in the 1996 SWC Tournament. The Ponies also won NCAA Regional matchups in 1956 and 1965, but lost in 1967. The eighth-ranked Mustangs won 89-76 and over 17th-ranked Houston in the 1956 Tournament. SMU eventually advanced to the 1956 Final Four.
SMU IN THE C-USA CHAMPIONSHIP: The Mustangs are 1-3 in the C-USA Championship with a 61-59 win over Rice in the opening round of the 2006 tournament. The Mustangs have also faced UAB, Southern Miss, and UTEP. This is the first time for the Mustangs and Cougars to sqaure off in the C-USA postseason.
1. - Paul McCoy had 32 points against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 31 and Derek Williams had 32 at Houston on March 7. That is the first time two different players have scored at least 30 points in a game during the same season since 1995-96, SMU's last in the Southwest Conference. (1995-96 - Troy Matthews 30 vs. Pennsylvania; Jemeil Rich 30 vs. Texas) The 32 by Williams was the most for an SMU player on the road since Bryan Hopkins had 32 at Tulsa on Jan. 1, 2005.
2. - The SMU roster totals six games played in the Conference USA Championship; Bamba Fall (2 - missed 2006 tournament with back injury), Papa Dia (1), Ryan Harp (1), Alex Malone (1), and Mike Walker (1).
3. - In C-USA games, SMU is averaging 35.6 rebounds (4th) with a +1.8 differential (4th). Last season in C-USA, SMU averaged 31.8 rebounds and had a -4.2 differential. The Mustangs have outrebounded 10 of 16 league opponents and 13 of the last 19 opponents overall. In the Mustangs' league wins, they were +11 (40-29) against Tulane, +8 (39-31) versus Rice, and +9 (33-24) in the Southern Miss game. SMU was +14 (38-24) at UAB on Feb. 14 and +9 (53-44) in the overtime loss at UTEP on Feb. 25. The 53 boards at UTEP is an SMU record in C-USA action.
4. - A first-year player has led SMU in scoring in 26 of 29 games (freshman Paul McCoy 12 times, JC transfer Derek Williams 9 times, junior transfer Mouhammad Faye 3 times, and redshirt freshman Robert Nyakundi 2 times - the others were senior Bamba Fall 3 times, sophomore Papa Dia, and sophomore Mike Walker; Fall & McCoy as well as Nyakundi and Walker co-led once). The Mustangs are one of nine teams with four different first-year players leading the way at least once (UC-Riverside (5), Wichita State (5), Colorado, High Point, Iona, Jacksonville State, Long Beach State, Sam Houston State).
5. - In Conference USA games, newcomers accounted for 71.5 percent scoring (706 of 988 points), 80.2 percent of assists (138 of 172), and 68.9 pct. of steals (51 of 74) in 67.3 pct. of the minutes (2172 of 3225).
6. - The Mustangs have improved in 13 of 19 statistical categories tracked by C-USA compared to last season.
7. - SMU has made 581 three-pointers so far in Matt Doherty's first three seasons. That is second for any 3-year period. The record is 584 from 1997-2000. The Ponies have shot 34.5 percent from deep in that time.
8. - Experience - Bamba Fall has played in 102 games at SMU, the only one on the roster above 57 games. According to Kenpom.com, SMU is the 35th most inexperienced team in the nation.
9. - The Mustangs have reached 70 points 10 times this season after falling 89-77 at Houston on March 7. SMU is 5-5 in those games. Last season, SMU reached 70 nine times last season and six times in 2006-07.
10. - Fall has 66 blocks this season, the 5th-most in a season at SMU. He also has the 6th (63, 2007-08), 7th (62, 2006-07) and 10th (52, 2005-06) best seasons at SMU.
11. - Freshman Paul McCoy is averaging a team-high 13.4 points. He is on pace to become the first freshman to lead the Mustangs in scoring. He has been named C-USA Rookie of the Week twice (Nov. 24 & Feb. 16). He has led the team in scoring 12 times as a freshman, which is tied for the record at SMU (Jeryl Sasser in 1997-98).
12. - Strength of Schedule - The Mustangs have the toughest schedule within Conference USA this season based upon opponent's winning percentage (.570). The Mustangs also had the toughest schedule last season (.527). The Mustangs were the only team to play four of the league's five postseason teams twice in league play. SMU plays home-and-home with Houston, Memphis, Rice, Tulsa, and UTEP.
13. - Bamba Fall has 244 career blocks. That is second at SMU (Jon Koncak 278) and 6th in C-USA. In 102 games, he has 73 multi-block outings. (2+ 73 times, 3+ 41 times, 4+ 27 times, 5+ 12 times, and 6+ 3 times). Fall is 22nd at SMU with 570 career rebounds and is the 30th SMU player to 500.
14. - Paul McCoy became the third SMU freshman to score 30 points in a game with 32 against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 31. Ira Terrell had 33 against Arkansas on Jan. 30, 1973. Terrell scored 31 against Houston on Dec. 29, 1972. David Piehler scored 32 as a freshman at TCU on Feb. 9, 1980. McCoy nearly did it again with 29 points at UAB on Feb. 14.
15. - Bamba Fall has hit 64.6 percent from the field (53-82) in Conference USA games.
16. - The 70-67 win over Colorado on Jan. 5 was SMU's first win over a Big 12 team since a 77-43 win versus Baylor on Dec. 16, 2004.
17. - The Mustangs have had four players score in double-figures eight times (5-3) including the 69-66 win over Rice Feb. 21. SMU had Mouhammad Faye (Jr.), Paul McCoy (Fr.), Robert Nyakundi (Fr.), and Derek Williams (Jr.) score in double figures in the games versus No. 14 Memphis and Cal State-Bakersfield. That was the first time the same four players have scored 10-plus points for SMU in consecutive games since Eric Castro (Sr.), Bryan Hopkins (Jr.), Justin Isham (Sr.), and Patrick Simpson (Sr.) did it against Tulsa (Mar. 3) and Rice (Mar. 5) in 2005 (both of those games went to overtime).
Paul McCoy: McCoy ranks among the Conference USA leaders as a freshman. He is 15th in scoring (13.4), 9th in FG pct. (45.4), 7th in steals (1.68), and 15th in assist to turnover ratio 1.14. Among C-USA freshmen, he is 1st in FG Pct., 2nd in scoring (Tyreke Evans, Memphis, 16.9), 2nd in steals (Evans, 2.10), 4th in assist to turnover ratio, and 1st in minutes at 34.39 (2nd is Damier Pitts of Marshall at 30th, 28.65). In C-USA games, he averaged 12.1 points per game (22nd), and ranks 14th in assists (3.20), 14th in assist to turnover ratio (1.07), and 11th in minutes (34.87). He took C-USA Rookie of the Week for Feb. 9-15 as he averaged 19.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in games against Houston and UAB. He shot 48.4 percent (15-31) and hit 6-of-11 three-pointers. At UAB, he scored a game-high 29 points in the Mustangs' 78-75 loss. He also was C-USA Rookie of the Week for Nov. 17-23 when he averaged 17.0 points, 3.3 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals with just four total turnovers to make the All-Tournament Team of the SMU Tip-Off Classic. In November, he was named by The Sporting News as one of the "Top freshman you may not know." On Jan. 7, he was selected as the nation's No. 12 freshman by Basketball Prospectus. And on Jan. 16, he was named one of ten finalists for the for Oregon's 2008 Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year Award, as selected by a 78-member, statewide panel of voters.
Bamba Fall: Fall is second in C-USA with 2.28 blocks per game with a season-high five four times. He now has 244 blocked shots for his career as he trails only Jon Koncak's SMU record of 278. In C-USA, he ranks 2nd in blocks (2.28), 7th in rebounds (7.3), 4th in offensive rebounds (2.69), and 7th in defensive rebounds (4.62). Through March 5, he ranked 25th in the NCAA in blocks. He has had five blocks in four games this season; TCU, Northwestern, UTSA, and Tulane. In two matchups with Tulsa's Jerome Jordan, Fall had 19 points (9-14 FG), 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, a steal, and an assist while Jordan had 18 points (5-14 FG), 18 rebounds, 6 blocks and 2 assists.
Mouhammad Faye: He is 18th in Conference USA in rebounds (5.3). In C-USA games, Faye is averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds (T-14th). He had a career-high 15 rebounds at UTEP on Feb. 25. He also had 13 rebounds against Houston on Feb. 11 and followed that with nine boards at UAB on Feb. 14.
Derek Williams: Williams is averaging a team-best 3.45 assists per game. In C-USA, he is 20th in scoring (12.5), 14th in assists (3.45), 14th in assist/turnover ratio (1.33), and 17th in minutes (32.48). In league games, he scored 13.3 points (T-18th) while averaging 3.44 assists (12th) with a 1.41 assist to turnover ratio (10th). Williams had 32 points at Houston on March 7 with 24 in the second half. He also had a streak of eight consecutive double-digit scoring efforts that was snapped against Houston on Feb. 11. That was the longest double-digit streak at SMU since Ike Ofoegbu (oh-fway-boo) had a 12-game stretch of double-figure scoring games from Jan. 10 to March 3 in 2006-07.
SMU career blocks - Bamba Fall is 2nd 244 (1st Jon Koncak 278)
C-USA career blocks - Bamba Fall is 6th 244 (5th Jason Maxiell, Cincinnati 252)
SMU career rebounds - Bamba Fall is 22nd 570 (21st John Colborne 574; 20th Bill Voight 580; 19th Greg Kinzer 609)
SMU steals by freshman - Paul McCoy is 3rd 47 (2nd Carl Wright 52, 1st Bryan Hopkins 61)
10+points: Derek Williams 4 (13, 10, 14, 32), Mouhammad Faye 3 (12, 18, 10)
HEAD COACH Matt Doherty...is in his eighth season as a head coach and his third season at SMU. This is his 18th 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 123-128 record including a 33-57 mark on the Hilltop.
SENIOR NIGHT WITH PERFECT ENDING - Bamba Fall: Fall scored 16 points and had 8 rebounds in his final home game on March 4, a 67-65 win against Southern Miss. Fall hit the game-winning free throws with 32 seconds remaining when he was fouled on an attempted put-back after an offensive rebound. He was 5-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-6 at the free throw line. All six free throws came in the final 2:20.
SPECIAL GUEST: When the Mustangs went to the locker room after practice on Feb. 24, there was a special visitor. Former President George W. Bush met with and spoke to the team while on campus with SMU President R. Gerald Turner.
THE SERIES (HOUSTON): The Mustangs and Cougars are meeting for the 63rd time with Houston holding a 40-22 lead. SMU has dropped seven straight since the teams became Conference USA foes. Before that, SMU won three straight including the two meetings that occurred between the breakup of the Southwest Conference and becoming C-USA foes. The teams spent 20 seasons in the SWC with the Mustangs trailing 28-14, but SMU does hold an all-time 6-4 edge in tournament play: 2-1 in NCAA Tournament action and 4-3 in SWC Tournament games. The last meeting in a league tournament games was a 62-57 win over the Cougars in the 1996 SWC Tournament at Reunion Arena in Dallas. The Ponies won NCAA Regional matchups in 1956 and 1965, but lost in 1967. The eighth-ranked Mustangs won 89-76 and over 17th ranked Houston in the 1956 Tournament. SMU eventually advanced to the 1956 Final Four.
SMU AT HOUSTON: (Mar. 7 at UH, L 89-77) HOUSTON (AP) -Aubrey Coleman had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Zamal Nixon scored 21 to lead Houston past SMU 89-77 on Saturday night. Derek Williams scored a career-high 32 points for SMU (9-20, 3-13 Conference USA). He was 11-of-17 from the field. Williams had 24 points in the second half and helped the Mustangs get within 72-64 with 5:26 to play. He did it in the absence of SMU's leading scorer in freshman Paul McCoy. McCoy missed the game with a sprained right ankle, but is expected to play in the first round of the conference championship on Wednesday. The 32 points by Williams matched McCoy for the most by a Mustang this season. It was also one point off the SMU record for a Conference USA game help by Jon Killen, which scored 33 in a 99-96 double-overtime win at Moody Coliseum on March 1, 2008. Coleman was 6-of-12 from the field and 10-for-12 on free throws for the Cougars, who will meet the Mustangs again Wednesday in the first round of the Conference USA tournament. Nixon made seven 3-pointers to help the Houston bench outscore the Mustangs 25-14. Nixon also had seven assists. For SMU, Justin Haynes had a season-high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting and Mouhammad Faye scored 10. Senior Bamba Fall had a team-high seven boards with seven points. Houston (19-10, 10-6) also got double-digit scoring from Kelvin Lewis (19 points) and Qa'rraan Calhoun (17).
HOUSTON AT SMU: (Feb. 11 at SMU, L 69-56) DALLAS -- Bamba Fall led SMU with a season-high tying 16 points as the Mustangs fell 69-56 against Conference USA foe Houston on Wednesday night. Paul McCoy added 10 for the Mustangs. Marcus Cousin scored 14 points and had 14 rebounds to lead Houston. The Mustangs (7-15, 1-8 C-USA) led 43-41 after two free throws by Fall with 12:33 left in the second half. Houston then used a 14-0 run to get away from the Mustangs. Mouhammad Faye had a career-best 13 rebounds for SMU to go with nine points. Faye also had a season-best three steals. Derek Williams led the Ponies with five assists while scoring eight points. Mike Walker scored six points for SMU on 2-for-3 from three-point range as the team hit 7-of-16 from beyond the arc. McCoy also hit 2-of-3 from long range. Faye was 2-for-5. At the free throw line, SMU hit 74 percent on 17-of-23. It was the fourth time in the last six games SMU has hit 74 percent or better. Fall was 8-for-11 and Williams hit 5-of-6. Aubrey Coleman scored a team-high 20 points for the Cougars (15-7, 6-3 C-USA), but was held more than five points off his league average. Zamal Nixon put up seven assists in the game. Houston also had Qa'rraan Calhoun add 13 points and seven rebounds while Kelvin Lewis scored 11 points.
Matt Doherty vs. HOUSTON: Matt Doherty is 0-6 against Houston, all while at SMU.
THE COACHES SERIES: Matt Doherty (SMU) and Tom Penders (Houston) are meeting for the seventh time, all while at their current positions. Penders leads 6-0.