WHEN: Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. Tipoff is at 7 p.m CT.
WHERE: Moody Coliseum/Dallas, Texas
TV/RADIO: CBS Sports Network/SMU-KAAM 770AM
SERIES: UC Santa Barbara leads 1-0 (Gauchos won 68-66 on December 10, 1973)
Nic Moore continued his impressive play against a talented Wyoming team, leading SMU with 25 points on 10-14 shooting and willing the Mustangs to their third straight win. Yanick Moreira also finished with impressive numbers, adding 15 points and 13 rebounds. Even with Keith Frazier struggling offensively (0 points), SMU got solid contributions from Ben Moore (14 points) and Cannen Cunningham (6 points) on their way to handing the Cowboys their first loss of the season.
The Gauchos are another team the Mustangs will face that shares the ball and rebound well. UCSB is led by 6-foot-8, 265-pound senior Alan Williams. Williams, who plays center for the Gauchos, is a load to handle in the paint both offensively and defensively. Besides Williams, UCSB has three other players that are currently averaging more than 10 points per game, so their balanced offensive attack is a big part of their game.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Yanick Moreira vs. Alan Williams: While Moreira has a good 4 inches on Williams, Williams is the type of big-bodied player that can push the Angola-native around. Moreira’s height advantage should give Williams some trouble, but avoiding foul trouble is going to be key for Moreira. If Moreira does get into foul trouble, the Mustangs lose their best rebounder, and without Markus Kennedy, Cannen Cunningham would have to guard Williams. Moreira will need to prevent Williams, UCSB’s best rebounder, from grabbing offensive boards and continue his solid play on both offense and defense.
KEYS TO THE GAME
The Mustangs limited Wyoming’s best player Larry Nance Jr. to just three points on four shots, so if SMU can limit Williams the same way, the Mustangs will be well on the way to their fourth straight win. Moreira cannot play complacent against Williams and has to have one of his better games of the season. The Mustangs will also need to keep their eyes on guards Michael Bryson (12.0 ppg) and John Green (10.9 ppg) who are two guards that can’t be taken lightly. While he’s coming off of a 25-point night, Nic Moore should not be counted on that heavily this time around. An improved game from Keith Frazier on the offensive side of the ball is needed, as well as an overall better contribution from the bench.