The Senegal native took SMU on his back in the first half, going for 16 points and eight rebounds. At half, the Mustangs were behind 39-33, but this wouldn't faze Dia or any of the other SMU players. The Mustangs came out running following halftime, and took it to the Houston Cougars. Senior guard Derek Williams, who entered the half with meager two points after he went 1-5 from the field, finally woke up, and went on a scoring barrage. Williams led the team in the second half with 16 points, including five points from the foul line.
The second half didn't slow down Papa Dia, who continued to light up the box score. He ended up finishing with 31 points – his season high. But he didn't stop there, he continued to dominate down low, and hauled in 12 rebounds – his ninth double-double of the season, and second one in the past three games.
Aside from Dia and Williams, the Mustangs were also led by Robert Nyakundi. Besides going 3-5 from behind the arc, Nyakundi managed to get to the foul line nine times, and totaled seven points from the charity strike. The sophomore finished the night with 18 points, six rebounds, and one block.
SMU had five players enter double-figures, including Rodney Clinkscales and Mouhammad Faye. The Illinois native, Clinkscales, scored 12 points – his second highest total of the season. On the other hand, Mouhammad Faye appears to have cooled down from his previous play, in which he averaged 15.5 points in a four game span. The senior forward finished with 10 rebounds, which gives him two double-doubles on the year.
SMU (14-14, 7-7) sits in sole possession of sixth place in Conference USA, and is set to take on the current fifth place team, Tulsa, this upcoming Wednesday. Tulsa has a chance, if SMU can defeat them this upcoming game, to lose their final two games. The Mustangs need to win over Tulsa, and finish the season off against Marshall with a victory to finish in fifth place in the C-USA.