When: Saturday, December 5 at 12:30 p.m CT
Where: Moody Coliseum (Dallas , Texas)
TV/Radio: ESPN3 & TWC/KAAM 770 AM
Series: This is the first meeting between SMU and New Hampshire
The No. 22 SMU Mustangs have grinded out a couple of wins including a tough rivalry game on the road against TCU to improve to 5-0 on the year. SMU is coming off a 75-70 victory over TCU that saw their leader Nic Moore, despite battling a broken finger and an injured shoulder, put up 26 points including 19 in the second half. With the new freedom of movement rules being enforced this year, SMU has battled foul trouble in a couple games this season especially with big man Markus Kennedy. Despite this, SMU has seen a number of different guys contribute including two freshmen in Jarrey Foster and Shake Milton.
New Hampshire is off to a good start this year and has even played some tough competition already in both of their losses. The Wildcats welcomed back 2015 American East Rookie of the Year Taylor Leissner who leads the team at 18 points per game. New Hampshire will present some challenges for the Mustangs as a well disciplined team on offense and has started to play better defensively in recent games. The Wildcats have also been playing shorthanded much of the year but will be at full strength when they take on the Mustangs. New Hampshire did play UConn earlier in the year and lost 85-66 after the Huskies went on a run late in the second half to pull away.
Three Players to Watch
Tanner Leissner: The American East Rookie of the year was off to a great start this season before he missed the last three games due to injury. Before that, Leissner was averaging 18 points and six rebounds per game. Leissner does not shoot a lot of threes but has been efficient in his time with the Wildcats only taking 13 shots per game but he’s shooting over 50 percent, which has allowed him to get off to such a good start.
Jaleen Smith: Leissner is a big part of this offense, but just as important is the 6-4 junior guard from Freeport, Texas. Smith is not flashy but does average 13 points, close to six assists and six rebounds per game. As a rebounding guard, Nic Moore will have to be ready to box out every possession, as Smith will be coming in for the offensive rebounds.
Iba Camara: Down in the post, SMU’s big men are going to be dealing with the 6-9 sophomore forward from Senegal who’s averaging close to 10 points and 12 rebounds per game. Camara was slowed down his last game against Abilene Christian largely due to foul trouble. With SMU’s depth in the frontcourt getting tested the past couple of games this will be a good test for the Mustangs to handle.
Matchup to Watch
SMU Backcourt vs UNH Backcourt: This is going to be a great matchup with both sides having strong backcourts. New Hampshire leans heavily on Smith and Daniel Dion to provide some support for Leissner. SMU’s guards have also been playing well this year with Shake Milton providing a great option off the bench. SMU will need to be solid defensively as they’ll face one of the better executing teams they’ve seen all year.
Keys to the Game
Depth is not something SMU possesses right now and they have got to stay out of foul trouble. They’ve had a couple games to get a sense of how games are being officiated and now need to adjust. With not a lot of depth in the backcourt outside of Milton, New Hampshire is a talented enough team to punish SMU if they do fall into foul trouble. Nonetheless if SMU doesn’t turn it over and stays out of foul trouble, they are by far the more talented team and should be able to pick up win number six of the season.