Game Preview: SMU vs. Monmouth

Billy previews SMU's matchup against Monmouth at Moody Coliseum tonight at 6 p.m. CT!

WHEN: Sunday, November 30 at 6 p.m. CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas
TV/RADIO: ESPN3/KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: This is the first meeting between SMU and Monmouth.

PONY TRENDS

SMU’s season has not gotten off to the start that anyone has wanted, sitting at just 3-3 on the year and even losing a game in Moody Coliseum to Arkansas this week. Whether it’s been turnovers, poor shooting or a serious lack of interior presence, SMU is .500 for a reason. Nic Moore last game did everything for the Mustangs. Moore shot the ball well, stole the ball and shared the ball well. Moore did have five turnovers, but it was a good step in the right direction for Moore.

Turnovers have been an issue for SMU it seems every game so against Monmouth the key will be taking care of the ball. SMU is still struggling when Moore goes out of the game. Someone will need to step up for the Mustangs so Moore can get a rest at times. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s not looking likely. Ryan Manuel did get the start over Ben Emelogu last game and that seemed to help bring more length to the floor and confidence on offense for SMU. If Manuel can continue to grow, it should help Moore have more room to operate.

OPPONENT STRENGTHS

Monmouth is a team coming off a great performance against a solid Maryland squad. Maryland ended up winning by five, but the Hawks got within one point late and had a quality look late to tie it. If that game is any indication, Monmouth will come out with another impressive performance in Moody Coliseum today. SMU has to bring their best to avoid a second loss at home on the year.

Monmouth is an impressive defensive team, holding Maryland to just 61 points, even if the Terps were without leading scorer Dez Wells. This will be Monmouth’s fifth game in nine days, but the Hawks have gone 2-2 in that time. SMU will have to finish and close out this squad or the Hawks may just beat SMU today.

Three Players to Watch

Deon Jones: Monmouth’s leading scorer is a 6-6 guard that has the ability to score from almost anywhere. This team doesn’t make many mistakes with most of their starters averaging around a turnover a game and Jones is no exception to that. Ryan Manuel will likely draw the card to guard Jones and will try to slow his 13.4 points per game.

Andrew Nicholas: Monmouth’s three-point threat is shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-6 senior demands SMU’s attention on every possession with his ability to shoot from beyond the arc. SMU hasn’t defended the three-ball very well and Nicholas can make the Mustangs pay if they don’t.

Justin Robinson: Monmouth’s version of Nic Moore at just 5-8 is still one of the most dangerous players on the floor for the Hawks. Robinson is shooting almost 60 percent from the floor and nearly 45 percent from beyond the arc. That alone, should make SMU keep an eye on Robinson.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Ryan Manuel vs. Deon Jones: Like Manuel, Jones is an athletic, long guard, but has a tremendous ability to score, leading the Hawks in points this year. Jones doesn’t take as many threes as his teammates, but has the ability to knock them down. Where Manuel will have to pay attention to is Jones’ ability to drive and create his own shot.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Monmouth isn’t a powerhouse by any means, but sits at .500 just like the Mustangs at 2-2. SMU can’t allow a team like this to hang around. Besides SMU’s win over Lamar, SMU hasn’t been overly impressive. SMU needs to come out with a strong start, get up by 20 or so and finish a game start to finish. It’s really important for SMU to have a good game before the Mustangs host Wyoming on Friday and a good convincing, win will help them build some confidence.


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