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On paper, you might think back-to-back wins, including a Jan. 20 victory over Rice for the Mustangs' first C-USA win of the season, would be enough to keep head coach Matt Doherty happy. It wasn't!


On paper, you might think back-to-back wins, including a Jan. 20 victory over Rice for the Mustangs' first C-USA win of the season, would be enough to keep head coach Matt Doherty happy.

It wasn't enough.

Doherty realizes that although his Mustangs have won three games since a Jan. 6 C-USA loss at UTEP, two of those games were non-league affairs (North Carolina Central and Houston Baptist) and the third was to a Rice team still searching for win No. 1 in league play.

So despite am 82-68 win at home over Houston Baptist, Doherty was short on praise for his team.

"I was hoping for more," Doherty told the Dallas Morning News. "You just want to keep your foot on the gas pedal and not let up. I don't think we got better today. We won the game, but I don't think we got better."

Houston Baptist played SMU nearly even in the second half with the Mustangs outscoring the visitors 44-43 in the second half after building a 13-point halftime lead.

"Sometimes the worst thing you can do is get off to a great start," Doherty said.


--The Mustangs blocked a season-high six shots on Jan. 23 against Houston Baptist.

--For the first time since his Baylor bears coaching tenure ended in 2003, former SMU head coach Dave Bliss, 66, returned to Moody Coliseum for SMU's Jan. 23 game against Houston Baptist.

"Driving through the campus, I just realized again how neat it was here," Bliss told the Dallas Morning News of his coaching tenure at SMU from 1980-88. "I'm just enjoying coming back to where I've had a lot of great memories. We raised our kids in this gym."

Bliss led the Mustangs to three NCAA tournaments and one Southwest Conference title.

ON THE SPOT: SMU is grabbing a league-low 28 rebounds per game in C-USA action. The blame can be shared as almost every Mustangs player is rebounding well below their season average since C-USA games began. F Papa Dia, averaging 8.1 rebounds per game on the season is pulling down just 7.3 in C-USA games. F Mouhammad Faye's production has dropped from 5.9 to 4.5 per game. The big exception is F Frank Otis who is averaging 6.3 rebounds per C-USA game, up from 4.1 on the season. He is also getting about six more minutes of floor time in conference games than his season average of 14.8 minutes per game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've talked all season about Robert being one of the best shooters I've coached. When he was hurt, we missed him. Now you see what I meant." -- SMU head coach Matt Doherty to the Dallas Morning News on the season-high 20 points, including 5 of 5 from 3-point range, for G Robert Nyakundi on Jan. 23 against Houston Baptist.


SEASON RECAP: SMU has three wins since its C-USA opening loss at UTEP on Jan. 6, but two were non-league games (North Carolina Central and Houston Baptist). The Mustangs' only league win has come against a Rice team that has yet to win a league game.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- G Derek Williams, G-F Justin Haynes, F Papa Dia, F Robert Nyakundi, G Mike Walker. Key Subs -- G Paul McCoy, F Mouhammad Faye, G Rodney Clinkscales, F Frank Otis.

UAB 63, SMU 62
SMU 73, Rice 65
SMU 82, Houston Baptist 68

vs. Central Florida, Wednesday, Jan. 27
vs. Memphis, Saturday, Jan. 30
at Southern Miss, Tuesday, Feb. 2
at Tulane, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. UTEP, Wednesday, Feb. 10

IN FOCUS: SMU could have its hands full Jan. 30 against Memphis and sophomore G Elliot Williams, who is second in C-USA in scoring (19.6 points per game). Williams scored in double figures in 17 of his team's first 18 games.


--Senior G Derek Williams scored a game-high 27 points in a win over Houston Baptist on Jan. 23. It was the 11th-consecutive game Williams has scored in double figures.
--G Robert Nyakundi scored a career-high 20 points on Jan. 23 against Houston Baptist. He also had four steals in the game and hit all five of his 3-point tries.
--G Paul McCoy played more than 30 minutes off the bench in both of SMU's wins last week (30 against Rice and 31 against Houston Baptist).

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