When: Wednesday, December 14 at 7 PM CT.
Where: Moody Coliseum, Dallas, TX.
TV/Radio: ESPN3 (Subject to blackout in DFW), KAAM 770 AM
Series: SMU leads 1-0 after their 2013 win was vacated.
Last meeting: SMU won 88-59 on December 2, 2013.
SMU is coming off a confidence-building, 74-59 win against rival TCU. While it hasn’t been pretty, the Mustangs are now riding a three-game winning streak on this homestand, beating Cal State Bakersfield and Delaware State along with TCU. SMU is a perfect 6-0 at Moody Coliseum this season, and are 38-3 there since the start of the 2014-15 season. The Mustangs played arguably their most complete game of the season against TCU, stifling the Horned Frogs’ offense and turning it over just five times themselves. Semi Ojeleye led SMU with 23 points and seven rebounds, despite an inefficient shooting night from the field.
Breaking Down McNeese State
McNeese State comes into Dallas with just a 2-5 record. Their two wins have not been impressive ones, blowing out SUNO and squeezing out a two-point win over LSU-Alexandria. Both schools are NAIA. In McNeese State’s two matchups against teams of SMU’s caliber, they lost to Purdue by 44 and to Memphis by 39. McNeese State struggles on defense, allowing 88.7 points per game. On the offensive end they do not score efficiently, shooting 41.5% from the field and 30.1% from three-point range. McNeese State is a very small team three of their starters stand at just 6-2 or shorter, and their tallest player is just 6-8. Look for SMU to give Semi Ojeleye and Ben Moore touches in the paint to push around the Cowboys.
McNeese State Players to Watch
G Jamaya Burr: The senior guard is McNeese State’s leading scorer and assister, averaging 12.7 points per game and 5 assists per game. While Burr does not shoot many threes, he can make the shot, as he is shooting 40% on his 15 attempts this season. Burr is just 6 feet tall and weighs 175 pounds, but he is the catalyst of McNeese State’s offense.
G James Harvey: Harvey is a pure gunner, leading McNeese State in field goal attempts despite shooting just 33.3% from the field. Harvey is not afraid to launch from behind the arc, as he has hoisted up a team-high 54 attempts this season, making 17 of them. Harvey is a pure scorer, averaging just one assist and 1.7 rebounds per game. Harvey had his best three-point shooting night of the season in McNeese State’s last game against UL-Lafayette, so perhaps he is starting to find his stroke.
G Kaleb Ledoux: Despite playing just 19.3 minutes per game, McNeese State’s freshman guard is the team’s third leading scorer at 10.3 points per contest. By McNeese State’s standards, Ledoux has scored efficiently this season, shooting 43.4%. Ledoux had his best game of the season in his debut against Purdue, dropping 16 points on the Boilermakers.
Projected Starting Lineups
G Jamaya Burr
G James Harvey
G Jarren Greenwood
G/F Lance Potier
F LaBarrius Hill
G Shake Milton
G Jarrey Foster
G Sterling Brown
F Semi Ojeleye
F Ben Moore
Keys to the Game
McNeese State is a team that SMU should have no problem with, so the Mustangs will be fine as long as they play a decent game. With that being said, they cannot give the game away. They struggled with Cal State Bakersfield and Delaware State because they had fits of turnovers. They rectified this issue against TCU last Wednesday, but it is imperative for SMU not to get sloppy. It is also important for SMU to guard the 3-point shot. McNeese State takes over 20 triples a game, and they shot 50% from that range in their last game. If they close out on threes and don’t turn the ball over, SMU should win easily.