SMU (11-9) at UCF (13-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 13, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UCF Arena (10,000) -- Orlando. Florida. Television: None. Home Record: SMU 6-3, UCF 10-3. Away Record: SMU 3-4, UCF 3-2. Neutral Record: SMU 2-2, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: SMU 1-4, UCF 3-1. Series Record: UCF leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to remain among the leaders in the Conference USA standings, the UCF Knights play host to the SMU Mustangs at UCF Arena on Saturday afternoon.
After dropping a 63-54 decision at UTEP last Saturday, the Mustangs have now lost two straight and five of their last six. Their only victory in the month of January is a 59-53 win over Tulane. SMU will complete its current three- game road trip when it visits Marshall next Wednesday.
The Knights come into this contest looking for their third straight victory, as they took down Rice at home on Wednesday night. Overall, UCF has won four of its last five decisions. Next up for the Knights is a two-game road trip, with stops at Tulane and Marshall.
This is the ninth meeting between these two schools with UCF holding a 5-3 advantage. The Knights are 4-3 versus the Mustangs in the regular season, including a 59-52 win in Dallas on Feb. 4, 2012. Last year's UCF victory marked the first time in series history in which the home team did not win. The Mustangs have never prevailed in Orlando. The Mustangs have not beaten UCF since taking a 65-43 decision at home on Jan. 27, 2010. UCF and SMU will continue their series next season when both join the Big East.
Jacques Streeter scored 18 points and shot 5-of-5 from 3-point range to lead UTEP to a 63-54 win against SMU last week. Konner Tucker added 12 points for the Miners (10-7, 3-1 Conference USA), who never trailed. Shawn Williams had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Jalen Jones added 15 points for the Mustangs (11-9, 1-4). After shooting a frigid 31.4 percent from the floor in its previous game at Tulsa, UTEP made 17-of-36 shots (47.2 percent), including 8- of-16 from 3-point range. SMU trailed 28-21 before going scoreless for the last 3:09 before intermission, enabling the Miners to close the half on a 7-0 run. The Mustangs got no closer than eight points in the second half. Nick Russell had 12 points for SMU.
SMU enters this game first in C-USA and 12th in the nation in free throw percentage (.763). All five starters shoot better than 70 percent at the stripe. SMU is also among the league and national leaders in field goal percentage defense (.394, second C-USA, 48th NCAA) and scoring defense (61.0, 4th C-USA, 62nd NCAA).
Calvin Newell and Isaiah Sykes each scored 24 points to lead the host Knights to a 78-67 win over Rice on Wednesday. UCF outscored the Owls 46-35 in the second half after the game was tied at 32 at intermission. The Knights finished with a 38-21 rebounding advantage.
Four Knights are averaging better than 13 ppg in league play: Keith Clanton (17.5/2nd in C-USA), Isaiah Sykes (15.3/ninth), Calvin Newell (15.3/ninth) and Tristan Spurlock (13.8/15th). UCF continues to be one of the more accurate shooting teams, as it leads the league and rank eighth in the country in field goal percentage (.492). UCF is also second in C-USA in 3-point field goal percentage (.372).
The Mustangs have been struggling in conference games, so expect the Knights to take advantage and use their balance scoring attack to secure the home victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 66, SMU 64
01/26 10:44:10 ET