WHEN: Monday, December 29 at 7 p.m. CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/RADIO: ESPN3/KAAM 770 AM
SERIES: SMU won the first meeting with Midwestern State 89-74 on Dec. 17, 1966.
The Mustangs have won six in a row since starting the season off 2-3 with their latest win coming on the road over Michigan 62-51. SMU has been impressive in their wins over Michigan and Wyoming, their two most important out-of-conference matchups.
Nic Moore two solid performances in the last two games, with 16 and 17 points, but has turned the ball over nine times in the last two games. Moore is starting to get his shooting touch back, but has to limit turnovers as SMU gets into conference play following this game. SMU also got big man Markus Kennedy back, but Kennedy played just 10 minutes and totaled five points and three rebounds. Expect to see Kennedy in a bigger role tomorrow night.
The Mustangs have a few guards that can score, but Bretson McNeal is their main scoring threat, averaging over 16 points per game. The tough thing for MSU will be to matchup physically with SMU. MSU has four players at 6-7 to 6-9, but none taller than 6-9. That’s going to mean MSU will have to defend a heavy dose of Yanick Moreira, Kennedy, Ben Moore and Cannen Cunningham. Scoring wise, Devante Pullman and Xavier Blackburn average almost 10 points per game, but both are not a threat from the outside like McNeal is, who shoots nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Three Players to Watch
Bretson McNeal: The Mustangs leading scorer is averaging 16.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. A 6-2, 185-pound junior, was a NJCAA All-America honorable mention last year at North Dakota State Science before coming to MSU. The offense runs through McNeal and if Ryan Manuel can shut him down, it will be a very easy night for SMU.
Devante Pullman: Pullman comes off the bench most nights for MSU and makes the most of his average of 22 minutes a game, scoring 10 points per game.
Abiodun Adegoke: The Mustangs top forward will have his hands full down low. Adegoke averages 7.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and although he doesn’t see a ton of minutes, At 6-8, 250 pounds he’s a load down low.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
McNeal vs. Manuel: Ryan Manuel will likely draw the card to cover McNeal as SMU’s best defender. Manuel is really growing into SMU’s best defender and although MSU is a D2 squad, McNeal is a solid player. Manuel needs to really close out on McNeal, who shoots nearly 50 percent from beyond the arc and limit his open looks.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Turnovers and free throws. SMU needs to get to the line early and take advantage of the size mismatch as well as the talent advantage SMU will undoubtedly have. SMU needs to take care of the basketball, play efficiently and play smart. Free throws have been nerve-racking for SMU fans to watch all season. Tomorrow night, SMU will need to put some of those nerves to rest by having a solid night at the line.