SMU (11-8) at Texas-El Paso (9-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Don Haskins Center (12,000) -- El Paso, Texas. Television: CSS. Home Record: SMU 6-3, UTEP 8-1. Away Record: SMU 3-3, UTEP 1-3. Neutral Record: SMU 2-2, UTEP 0-3. Conference Record: SMU 1-3, UTEP 2-1. Series Record: UTEP leads, 25-15.
GAME NOTES: The SMU Mustangs head to the Don Haskins Center to take on the Texas-El Paso Miners in a Conference USA tussle.
SMU has been in a recent slide and enters today's matchup looking to rebound from a 74-70 home loss to Southern Miss on Wednesday. The loss was the fourth in the last five games for the Mustangs, who are opening a three-game road swing.
Texas-El Paso saw its three-game winning streak come to a halt in Wednesday's 45-42 setback at Tulsa. The Mustangs will no doubt be happy to return to the Haskins Center, where they have won eight of nine on the season.
UTEP leads the all-time series, 25-15, although SMU snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Miners with a 57-48 victory in last year's regular season finale.
SMU led Southern Miss by as many as 19 at the 8:02 mark of the first half in Wednesday's contest. But the Golden Eagles trimmed the margin to 6 at the break, and they opened the second half with a 22-6 run to go up by 10 and never trailed again the rest of the way. The Mustangs committed 17 turnovers for the game, and defensively they allowed USM to shoot 12-of-26 from beyond the arc. Jalen Jones registered a game-high 20 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort, while Shawn Williams knocked down 5-of-8 threes en route to a career-high 17 points. Ryan Manuel and Nick Russell added 14 and 11 points, respectively. On the season, Jones leads the squad with 15.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Russell is averaging 13.7 ppg, followed by Manuel with 11.9 ppg. The Mustangs boast a +2.6 rebounding margin but have struggled with outside shooting teams, as they have allowed 7.2 3-pointers per game while averaging only 4.1 threes on the offensive end.
Whereas the Mustangs do not have a potent outside shooting presence, the Miners can lean on leading scorer Konner Tucker (12.7 ppg), who is shooting at a marksman-like 52.2-percent clip from beyond the arc (24-of-46) in nine games since returning from a broken hand. Julian Washburn is next in line with 12.6 ppg, followed by John Bohannon, who is shooting a team-best 60 percent from the floor while averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds. However, after eclipsing 70 points in each of their previous two outings, the Miners were held to season-lows in points (42), field goals made (16) and field-goal percentage (.314) in Wednesday's loss to Tulsa. Bohannon was the only UTEP player in double figures, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
Now back on their home floor, the Miners will surely be eager to atone for Wednesday's showing. The key player to watch is Tucker, who can certainly make SMU pay if he is left open along the perimeter.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-El Paso 57, SMU 52
01/19 10:35:39 ET