When:Thursday, December 17 at 6 pm CT
Where:Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
TV/Radio:ESPN3 and TWC/770 KAAM
SMU didn't have much of a letdown game against Nicholls State. SMU dominated the Colonels in every aspect of the game and did so in impressive fashion. Jordan Tolbert grabbed 23 rebounds - third most in a single game in SMU history and Ben Moore also added 22 points in the rout. SMU though was without Keith Frazier, Markus Kennedy and Sedrick Barefield, but even with the short bench, SMU dominated. I don't expect much of a difference tonight as SMU takes on a team that is 4-3 on the year and hasn't played all that great. Expect SMU to keep it rolling tonight in a game that could feature a very empty Moody Coliseum with students on break and an early 6 pm tipoff.
In their MEAC opener against Coppin State, the Pirates managed to squeak by 74-71 in overtime. That game was on December 5 so Hampton is well-rested coming into this one. That could be good or bad from them as they could be rusty in this game, but have a couple players that could challenge the short bench of SMU. Quinton Chievous and Reggie Johnson are both coming off big games and now with finals under their belt, can blow off some steam against SMU if the Mustangs don't step up defensively.
Three Players to Watch
G Quinton Chievous: Chievous is a former Tennessee guard, but now is Hampton's second-leading scorer with over 16 points per game and with over 13 rebounds per game, is Hampton's best rebounder as well. While Chievous isn't a true post, he'll have to be watched by the likes of Sterling Brown and Ben Moore to keep him from getting a double-double against SMU tonight.
G Reggie Johnson: The former Miami (OH) guard has picked up where he left off of last year's 11 points per game and jumped it up to over 18 points per game and three assists. The 6-2 guard rarely comes off the floor and will likely be matched against Nic Moore as the two battle it out tonight.
G Brian Darden: Darden's over 30 minutes a game are second on the team and with his 11 points a game, SMU will have to keep an eye on him. The 6-2 guard doesn't exactly shoot the ball well, but is still getting into double figures for the Pirates so SMU will have to keep an eye on him.
Matchup to Watch
Quinton Chievous vs. SMU frontcourt: While Chievous isn't a true post, SMU will have to watch Hampton's best player around the rim for rebounds and leaving him open. Chievous is shooting over 60 percent from the floor, but doesn't have much of a three-point shot. SMU will have to shut him down and it will take team defense to do that. Sterling Brown, Jarrey Foster and Ben Moore are some of the players that come to mind in this matchup.
Keys to the Game
Staying out of foul trouble tonight as SMU will likely have another short bench with Kennedy likely to sit, Barefield out and Frazier's status up in the air again. Tim Jankovich talked in length after the Nicholls State win about SMU's worry of foul trouble or even a player going down early like Kennedy did against Michigan. If SMU has two players injured in this game, the team would legitimately have to play with only five players. That's a scenario that hopefully doesn't happen, but again, it could. Luckily, Hampton isn't all-world by any means so if SMU comes out and performs like the staff knows they can, SMU will be quite alright.