The biggest disappointment came in the play of Derek Williams, who couldn't develop any rhythm in the game. At the end of the first half, Williams had no points to show, but SMU somehow managed to secure the lead at halftime, 24-22.
In his last seven games before last night's game, Williams' lowest point total was 12 against Central Florida. His struggles can be applied to the fact that he was not shooting well, going 3-12 from the field in his eight point effort. As mentioned in the "Keys to Victory", SMU needed to get to the foul line in order to compete with UTEP from start to finish. Unfortunately, Williams couldn't get to the line as he usually does; only getting two shots from the charity strike. His turnover woes continued once again as he gave up the ball three times in the game.
On a positive note, Mouhammad Faye finally put up good numbers, and broke out of his six game slump in which he didn't score double digits. His 19 points led all scorers in the game, and he was one rebound away from completing his second double-double of the season. SMU has been waiting for a third member of their team to step up along with Derek Williams and Papa Dia all season long, and if Faye can continue his play from last night the rest of the way, then maybe this loss won't be as bad as it appeared at first.
UTEP didn't shoot well at all in the first half, but managed to improve their performance in the second half. At the end of the game, UTEP had three scorers in double figures, including 18 points from Randy Culpepper. As a team, UTEP shot 65.0% from the foul line, while SMU once again did well from the line, going 70% from the line.
The loss for UTEP drops them below .500 at 11-12 (4-5), and puts them in a three way tie with Houston and Southern Miss in sixth place. In UTEP's case, they sit atop the C-USA with a 18-5 (9-1) record and hold a one game lead over Tulsa.
SMU will get set to take on Houston this Saturday – a game that will break the current three way tie for sixth place.