WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Tipoff is at 7 p.m CT.
WHERE: Moody Coliseum/Dallas, Texas
TV/RADIO: CBS Sports Network/SMU-KAAM 770AM
SERIES: SMU leads 1-0 (Mustangs won the first ever meeting 73-65 last season on December 4, 2013).
In SMU’s sixth straight home game, Keith Frazier scored a career-high 20 points, leading SMU over UCSB 80-73 in overtime. Yanick Moreira tallied 15 points of his own to help fend off the tenacious Gauchos. SMU’s leading scorer, Nic Moore, left the game in the second half after banging knees with an opponent. The Mustangs rallied and eventually sealed the win with some clutch free throw shooting in overtime.
The Flames don’t quit. Its last time out, UIC rallied from a 17-point second half deficit to force overtime against UT- Martin. UIC went on a 20-4 run- sure, ultimately the Flames lost 81-78, but the fight they showed Monday night cannot be taken lightly. This team can put together some runs, and if they can do it when they are 17 points down, they can do it anytime.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Yanick Moreira vs. Tai Odiase: UIC doesn’t have a true center. Tai Odiase is the closest thing the Flames have to one; he is their tallest player at 6’9”, and does a decent job defending the rim. Through 11 games, Odiase has 21 blocks. Moreira has two inches on him and at least 10 pounds. We’ll have to see if Moreira can be physical enough to take advantage of the smaller Odiase, because if he can get going it will open up things for SMU’s shooters. Moreira is SMU’s second leading scorer and is averaging 12.4 points a game with 6.7 rebounds.
KEYS TO THE GAME
SMU has to jump on the Flames early and put them out. UIC has a lot of fight in it and SMU has let some teams crawl their way back into games this season. The Flames are 3-8 this season. They are only shooting 38 percent from the floor and 28 percent from three-point range. They aren’t- or they shouldn’t be a tough opponent, but they are only losing games by an average of 5.9 points. They are nothing, if not a group of fighters. The Mustangs need to take advantage of any easy looks they get, and make all their free throws. When you are playing a team that plays above their caliber and doesn’t quit, you need to do the little things to ensure a win.