SMU (5-2) vs. Texas A&M (6-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 6:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: American Bank Center Arena (8,000) -- Corpus Christi, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: SMU 4-0, Texas A&M 6-0. Away Record: SMU 0-1, Texas A&M 0-1. Neutral Record: SMU 1-1, Texas A&M 0-0. Conference Record: SMU 0-0, Texas A&M 0-0. Series Record: SMU leads, 90-87.
GAME NOTES: Lone Star State rivals square off in the third-place game of the Corpus Christi Challenge on Saturday afternoon, as the SMU Mustangs and Texas A&M Aggies clash at American Bank Center Arena.
Texas A&M opened the season with a six-game homestand and came away with victories in each contest. The Aggies' first foray away from College Station did not go according to plan, however, as they dropped their semifinal matchup to Missouri State on Friday night, 73-67.
SMU faced Virginia in the semifinals, and although it fought hard from start the finish, the Ponies ultimately fell on the wrong end of a 76-73 final to drop to the third-place game. The loss put a damper on another otherwise strong start to the season for the Mustangs, who are 5-2 and had been winners of three straight coming into the event.
These former Southwest Conference rivals have plenty of history between them, as SMU leads the series, 90-87. Texas A&M has won six of seven matchups dating back to 1994.
The Aggies held a lead for most of their semifinal-round matchup until Missouri State had a 9-0 burst midway through the second half to take a lead it would not relinquish. It was a solid shooting night for the Aggies, as they made greater than 48 percent of their field goal tries, but they were ultimately done in by a poor 2-of-16 showing from 3-point range, and losing the turnover battle (14-9) didn't help matters. Kourtney Roberson tallied 16 points and six rebounds in the losing effort, while Jordan Green and Antwan Space scored 13 and 10 points, respectively. It was a rare performance for Texas A&M, which boasts outstanding scoring (+15.0) and rebounding (+4.7) margins this season while ranking top-20 in the nation in field goal percentage (.520). Roberson in an anchor in the frontcourt with 14.3 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Alex Caruso (10.4 ppg) has twice as many assists (35) as turnovers (17), and is an elite perimeter defender with 3.0 steals per game.
In a game that featured 11 ties and 14 lead changes, SMU lost control after Anthony Gill drilled a pair of free throws for UVA with under nine minutes to play, and while the Mustangs kept the game to one possession for much of the stretch run it fell just shy. The team made 49 percent of its field goal attempts on the night, but it was outscored from 3-point distance, 30-15. Nic Moore led the charge in the losing effort with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Markus Kennedy tallied 14 points, five assists and five rebounds off the bench, while Yanick Moreira added 11 points. The Mustangs have proven to be a solid shooting team this season, as they make more than 50 percent of their field goal tries for 76.9 points per game, and they also help the cause with an outstanding +10.7 rebounding margin. Moore is the catalyst, posting 13.4 points per game while draining 18-of-34 from beyond the arc. Moreira (11.6 ppg) and Kennedy (9.9 ppg) are also off to impressive starts.
In an otherwise evenly-matched contest, expect SMU's prowess from beyond the arc to get the best of the Aggies.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 76, Texas A&M 75
11/30 10:35:55 ET