For the second time in two weeks and third time this year, SMU senior Papa Dia was named C-USA Co-Player of the Week by voting from a media panel covering the 12 conference schools. Dia repeats as Player of the Week, as he averaged 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. Dia shared the award with Jontae Sherrod of East Carolina.
The big man has lived up to the expectations and has carried this team the entire season.
He also reached double-digit scoring figures for the 15th time in the last 16 games. His 23 points now give him 10 games with 20 or more points. He also recorded his ninth 20+ point C-USA game in his career.
"He was a man," said head coach Matt Doherty. "I think Papa's focus was tremendous in practice. As Papa goes, our team goes. His emotional maturity has really improved."
Dia continues to climb the ranks of SMU greats, moving into 27th place on the schools' all-time scoring list with 1,137 points.
His four blocks against Southern Miss gives him 102 career blocks, becoming the 6th player in SMU history to record 100 or more blocks.
As long as Dia keeps playing at this level, SMU will always have a chance in their games. Luckily for Dia, his teammates are starting to come around and contribute, as well.
There were three players not named Papa Dia who recorded 10 or more points in SMU's last game (Clinkscales, Mangrum, Nyakundi), and freshman Jeremiah Samarrippas recorded a career-high nine assists.
The entire SMU team appears to be elevating their game, and they will continue to follow the lead of their senior captain, Papa Dia.
***Josh Harvey contributed to this report***