Ben Moore (Photo by Matt Visinsky)

Game Preview: SMU vs ECU

PonyStampede's Phil Mayer previews SMU's home matchup against ECU Wednesday night.

When: Wednesday, February 1 at 8:30 PM C.T. 

Where: Moody Coliseum (Dallas, TX)


Series: SMU leads 10-4

Last Meeting: SMU won at ECU, 75-44. 

Pony Trends

SMU went into Orlando shorthanded and used a gritty performance to beat a talented UCF team on the road. Without Jarrey Foster, Tim Jankovich played all of his starters 36 or more minutes to scratch out a 65-60 win. SMU has now won four straight games and 14 of their last 15. The Ponies also have an impressive defensive streak going, as they haven't allowed more than 70 points in a game since their last loss, against Boise State.

SMU will return home to play ECU, where it have been nearly unbeatable in recent seasons. The Mustangs have won 63 of their last 67 games at Moody Coliseum, and it will take a herculean effort from the Pirates to steal this game.

Scouting ECU

After starting 9-5 and beating USF in their first conference game, ECU fell into a 1-7 tailspin, with their only win coming against Tulsa last Wednesday. ECU is no threat to light up SMU's defense. It are a very inefficient team offensively, shooting just 39% from the field and 28.4% from three. ECU is not a bad team on defense, as it holds opponents to 62.5 points per game. ECU's leading scorer B.J. Tyson suffered a knee injury January 11th against Houston and has missed their last four games. 

ECU Players to Watch

G Kentrell Barkley: Barkley is likely ECU's best all-around player. He is second on the team in both points and rebounds, averaging 11.6 and 7.3, respectively. Barkley paced the Pirates in both categories in their last game against SMU, putting up 13 points and six boards.

G Caleb White: After strong start shooting the ball, White is now ice cold. He is just 7-44 from three in conference play, after shooting over 45% in non-conference matchups. White was ECU's only consistent threat from three, and the Pirates completely lack shooting if he isn't knocking down his shots.

C Andre Washington: ECU got Washington as a grad transfer from Wake Forest. At 7'1", Washington is an imposing presence inside, averaging 2.9 blocks and 7.5 minutes in 24 minutes per game. Despite recording five blocks against SMU in December, Washington did not play a very good game. He chased a lot of blocks, freeing up his man for an offensive rebound and easy putbacks. 

Projected ECU starters:

G Elijah Hughes

G Caleb White

G Kentrell Barkley

F Deng Riak

C Andre Washington

Projected SMU starters:

G Shake Milton

G Jarrey Foster

G Sterling Brown

F Ben Moore

F Semi Ojeleye

Matchup to Watch

Ben Moore vs. Andre Washington: Moore killed Washington last time these two teams met, outrebounding him and beating him on dribble drives. Washington will need to play much better if ECU wants to compete in this game. Washington continuously went after blocks from the weak side, leaving Moore free to tip in the shot if it missed. Moore finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds

Keys to the Game

To win this game SMU really just needs to play their game and not make mental errors. They are a much talented team than ECU, especially if B.J. Tyson is sidelined. If they avoid lots of defensive lapses and turnovers, they will be fine. 

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