When: Sunday, November 29 at 2:00 pm CT
Where: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/Radio: ESPN3/KAAM 770 AM
Series: SMU leads 1-0
Last Meeting: SMU beat Brown 60-56 in an overtime thriller at Moody Coliseum on Jan. 6, 2007.
The No. 25 Mustangs comes into Sunday’s matchup 3-0 for the season and in the top 25 for the first time this season. After edging out Yale a week ago 71-69, SMU improved to 2-0 at home this season and 36-3 since the start of the 2013-14 season. This year, SMU has five Mustangs averaging more than ten points a game: Nice Moore (12), Ben Moore (11.3), Jordan Tolbert (11.3), Keith Frazier (11) and Markus Kennedy (11). The Mustangs are averaging 80.3 points a game and are shooting 56 percent from the field. Last week against Yale, Kennedy and Tolbert avoided foul trouble and were able to combine for 29 points.
The Bears enter Sunday’s matchup 1-4 and are coming off an 88-77 loss to New Hampshire at the Pizzitola Sports Center. Brown (70.4) is averaging almost a full 10 points less per game than the Mustangs (80.3) and is only shooting 40.3 percent from the field. From 3-point range the Bears are shooting just 29.4 percent and are shooting just 65.9 percent from the line. After defeating Holy Corss 71-55 in its second game of the season, Brown has lost three straight games by an average of 13.6 points.
Three Players to Watch
Cedric Kuakumensah: The senior forward is seven blocks shots short of 252 career blocked shots (the all-time Ivy career record) and is the reigning two-time Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year. He’s posted double-doubles in each of Brown’s firs three games and currently ranks second in the Ivy League in rebounding with 10.4 per game.
Steven Spieth: A three year starter for Brown, Spieth is a Dallas native and Jesuit College Prep graduate. This season, the guard is averaging 10 points and 7.4 rebounds a game for the Bears. He’ll probably look to show out a little in front of his friends and family, which includes Masters champion Jordan Spieth.
Travon Blackmon: The junior point guard is averaging 9.2 points and 5 assists a game this season. In 2014, Blackmon averaged 104 ppg, led the Bears with 114 assists, and was ranked fifth in the Ivy Leage with 3.9 assists a game and fourth in free throw percentage with .820.
Matchup to Watch
Kuakumensah vs Kennedy: Kuakumensah is the enforcer for the Browns. He and Kennedy will be battling down low all game long and while it might be fun to watch, it’s also going to be nerve -wracking. Kennedy has struggled with staying out of foul trouble so many times before. Facing a physical big like Kuakumensah will result in a lot of contact in the paint and more than a number of fouls. Kennedy will have to play smarter, while also not giving any ground.
Keys to the Game
SMU needs to stay out of foul trouble. We’ve seen it already a couple times this season, once with SMU’s guards and another with the frontcourt. SMU is a much better team when all the pieces of puzzle are available for Tim Jankovich or Larry Brown to use. This game seems like more of a danger for the SMU big men because of Brown’s physicality with Kuakumensah and Travis Fuller.
The Mustangs also need to jump on Brown early and open up the throttle. The Bears have lost their last three games by a significant margin. If they findthemselves down big, early, they might just shrink.
And finally, SMU needs to protect the ball. The Mustangs are averaging 12 turnovers a game through three contests this season. That number needs to come down a bit especially as the season progresses. Coming off a holiday, it will be very important to stress ball security—especially in the first half.