SMU Hoops: Strategy and Personnel For ECU

Can the Mustangs improve to 14-8 overall? We have the breakdown for Wednesday's game.

With East Carolina's perimeter defense struggling in C-USA games played through Jan. 29 (the Pirates were allowing opponents to hit 41.3 percent of their 3-pointers in league games, ninth in the conference), the Mustangs feel good about their chances of extending their winning streak to four straight. SMU, and Robert Nyakundi in particular, have been on fire from long range. Nyakundi was second in the league in 3-point shooting (44.1 percent) through the first seven league games.

While Fs Papa Dia and Robert Nyakundi continue to be the scoring leaders of the Mustangs' recent surge, it's been the big play of 5-foot-10 true freshman PG Jeremiah Samarrippas that has coach Matt Doherty thinking his team's success won't be short lived. Sammarrippas averaged 7.0 assists per game in SMU's three-game win streak over Southern Miss (Jan. 22), Tulsa (Jan. 26) and Rice (Jan. 29). "Jeremiah is playing great," Doherty said. "He's such a smart player."

--Junior F Robert Nyakundi's seven 3-pointers in a Jan. 29 win at Rice were the most treys a C-USA player had made in a game this season. The six he made against Mississippi on Jan. 5 were tied for second most in a game this year by a C-USA player. Nyakundi had a career-high 29 points in the Rice victory.

--Senior F/C Papa Dia blocked six shots against Tulsa on Jan. 26 and three more against Rice on Jan. 29. He was leading the league after the Rice win with 3.7 blocked shots per conference game.

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