It has been 12 years since SMU and Texas A&M last faced off in what turned out to be the last year of the SWC in 1996. The Mustangs left with a win, 75-72, and maintained the series lead which currently stands at 90-85 in favor of SMU. However, a lot has changed since the parting of ways between these two schools, and the Aggies now head into this matchup as the heavy favorites in tonight's game in Reed Arena.
Coach Turgeon has had only one day to scout the Mustangs, but he spoke with media about the strength of their team based on what he has seen. "They have really good guards, [junior Derek Williams, averaging 12.6 ppg] and [freshman Paul McCoy, averaging 14.1 ppg]." Turgeon said. "Their big guys are big and physical, and they are getting better every time they go out."
While SMU lost at home on Monday to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, they are showing signs of being a competitive ball club. "They have a nice, young team, and their inexperience is hurting them more than anything at this point in the season," Turgeon said. "They have put some nice pieces together and it should be, at some point a good team, I hope not until after tomorrow night."
The Aggies have struggled early on as well, but have had some unexpected players rise to the occasion over the course of the last couple of tight games, with the most recent hero being junior center Chinemelu Elonu. "The last two games Chin's been great," Turgeon said. "He was so up in down, during practices and games leading up to Alabama. I had him on the 5th position on our depth chart, going into the Alabama game… That's the thing about our bigs, you never know what you are going to get. The last couple of games, [Elonu] has really stepped up."
Another player who has been crucial for Texas A&M is B.J. Holmes, who not only has made crucial shots from behind the arc but has shown an uncanny ability to drive to the basket with his left hand. "He's a smart player," Turgeon said. "People are going to start crowding him because he's made some big shots, so he's smart enough to put it on the deck. It's amazing how well he can finish. He's got a great left hand. We see it every day, and you guys don't get to see it as much, when he finishes with his left. He's fearless. He made a big shot [on Monday] to cut it to six… at the end of the game for us. He needs to keep doing that."
Unlike their last opponent in Florida A&M, SMU has been able to shoot effectively from the outside, and while A&M's offense may be a mystery, there is no doubt how they will match up on defense. "[We won't run a zone] in a million years. We are going to guard them. If we are zoning, check my temperature, something is wrong. We played it one possession against Alabama, and they made a tough shot. Never say never, but we don't plan on doing it."
With the recent defensive efforts from Elonu, Derrick Roland, B.J. Holmes, and Dash Harris, they most likely will not have to. The game tips off tonight at 7:05 central time in College Station.
Turgeon ready for SMU game
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