Game Preview: SMU vs. Eastern Washington

Demetrio previews SMU's home matchup against Eastern Washington today!

After a tough loss to Indiana on Thursday, SMU looks to right the ship (with a little home cooking) against Eastern Washington on Saturday.

WHEN: Saturday, November 21. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas
SERIES: This is the first meeting between the two teams.
LAST MEETING: This is the first meeting between the two teams.
PONY TRENDS: Saturday’s game will be the first of a seven game home stand. After dropping the last two games on the road, the Mustangs should be glad to be back at Moody- SMU has won 19 of their last 20 games at home. If SMU wants to capitalize on their home court advantage, they will need to continue rebounding and stop committing turnovers. In their loss to Indiana, SMU out rebounded the Hoosiers 40-27 but turned the ball over 19 times.

OPPONENT STRENGTHS: The Eagles are off to their best start (3-0) since the 1997-98 season, but have yet to play on the road. EWU is averaging 85.3 points a game while shooting an average of 58.2 percent from the floor and a solid 46.2 percent from three-point range. This season, the Eagles have beaten Texas Southern and Utah Valley, both of whom played in the postseason last year. Most recently, EWU pounded Walla Walla 95-34. It can be argued that the Eagles beat the teams they are supposed to and rise up to the level of their competition (in the case of Texas Southern and Utah Valley). Although it can also be said that No. 22 SMU is in a different category.

Three Players to Watch:

Tyler Harvey: The junior guard from Torrance, Calif. is averaging 18.3 points, four rebounds, and 4.7 assists a game. He is shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and boasts a 57.7 three-point percentage. The 6-4 185 pound guard is sixth in Eagles history with a 15.88 career scoring average and owns the fifth best three-point shooting percentage in EWU’s history with a career average of 43.3 percent.

Venky Jois: The Australian is averaging 17.3 points, seven rebounds, and 3.7 assists over the first three games of his junior season with the Eagles. At 6-8 230 pounds, Jois is a solid forward with length and size. He gets a lot of easy baskets and quality looks for the Eagles and boasts a field goal percentage of 72.7 this season. Jois could easily average a double-double if he grabbed rebounds with a little more consistency- he is dangerous down low nonetheless.

Frederik Jorg: The 7-1 295 pound red-shirt sophomore is the only true center on EWU’s roster. Through three games this season e is shooting 90 percent from the floor ande is averaging 7.3 point and three rebounds a game.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Ben Moore will most likely be line up against Jois and will be tasked with limiting his effectiveness on the offensive end. Moore’s length will match Jois’, but he gives up some size. This matchup will show us exactly how good of a defender Moore is/can be. Jois is a big part of the Eagles offense because as he creates trouble inside, it opens things up for EWU’s shooters like Harvey to attack from a distance. Moore will get his opportunities on offense, but his play on the defensive end will be more important in this game.

KEYS TO THE GAME: I’m going to quote Larry Brown on this one: “It’d be nice if we defended and rebounded.” SMU struggled the first two games with rebounding- they seemed to have figured it out against Indiana, but failed to take care of the ball. If SMU can solve its turnover issues, without forgetting about rebounding, they should cruise past EWU. The Eagles have several perimeter shooters, but none more lethal than Harvey. If Harvey can get going early and find his touch in Moody, SMU could have some trouble. That being said, this is the Eagles’ first time in Moody ever and it comes when Moody Madness is at its peak form. Moody is one of the toughest places to play in the NCAA right now, and especially for an overmatched EWU team. It would certainly be a surprise if this ends up being a close game.

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