Sterling Brown (Photo by Matt Visinsky)

Game Preview: SMU vs. Albany

Billy previews SMU's home nonconference matchup against Albany on Tuesday night in Moody Coliseum.

WHEN: Tuesday, December 20 at 7 pm CT
WHERE: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, Texas)
SERIES: First meeting.

Pony Trends

SMU stepped up and blew out Stanford on Monday night with a huge first half from the visiting Cardinal. Sterling Brown scored 16 points and SMU ran out to a 32-point lead in the first half of a 72-49 victory against Stanford. Semi Ojeleye had 13 points and seven rebounds in the Mustangs' fifth straight win. SMU shot 59 percent in the first half to 21 percent for the Cardinal (7-4), going ahead 12-0, 30-7 and 44-12 in the most impressive showing under first-year coach Tim Jankovich. Stanford leading scorer Reid Travis didn't get a shot in the first half, when Cardinal starters scored one point. It was one of SMU's most complete games start to finish and was a great sign for the Mustangs as they close out nonconference play on Tuesday night.

Scouting Albany

Albany is one of the best shooting teams in the America East with a 46.5% field goal percentage coming into Tuesday's matchup. Greg Stire and Mike Rowley in the front court are both shooting 56.1 percent from the field. On the boards, SMU will have to be ready to go as Albany is No. 10 in college basketball rebounding the ball. Albany doesn't take many three-point shots either, preferring to play in the paint so this one will truly be a battle of the bigs.

Key Albany Players to Watch

G Joe Cremo: Cremo had 20 points in the Danes 87-60 win over St. Francis Brooklyn, leading the way for the Danes. Cremo was 4-5 from beyond the arc as well.

F Mike Rowley: Even though Rowley only had seven points and five rebounds, he added six assists from the post and is one of the more reliable Albany players to produce. SMU's athletic bigs will have to have a focus on him when the Danes dump it into the post.

G David Nichols: The sophomore guard is averaging over 16 points off the bench for the Danes after averaging just 2.7 points per game in 2015-16.

Projected Albany Starters:
G Joe Cremo
F Mike Rowley
G Marqueese Grayson
F Dallas Ennema
F Greig Stire

Projected SMU Starters:
G Shake Milton 
G Jarrey Foster
G Sterling Brown
F Ben Moore
F Semi Ojeleye

Matchup to Watch

Joe Cremo vs. Shake Milton: A pair of taller guards going head to head here as Cremo is coming off a week with two 20-point performances earning him America East Co-Player of the Week. Milton is coming off a near double-double with 11 points and nine assists on just 4-10 from the field include 2-6 from the beyond the arc. Milton will have his work cutout for him as does Cremo. 

Keys to the Game

Another huge first half would be great to see for SMU, but rebounding is the biggest key against Albany. The Danes like to crash the boards hard and outrebound opponents by an average of 10 rebounds per game. SMU will also be facing the best three-point defenses in the America East so expect contested shots. SMU's shot selection will have to be excellent and if the Mustangs miss, extra effort will have to be put in to outrebound the Danes.

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