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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 18, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bud Walton Arena (19,200) -- Fayetteville, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: SMU 1-0, Arkansas 2-0. Away Record: SMU 0-0, Arkansas 0-0. Neutral Record: SMU 1-0, Arkansas 0-0. Conference Record: SMU 0-0, Arkansas 0-0. Series Record: Arkansas leads, 94-59.
GAME NOTES: A pair of 2-0 squads get together at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville on Monday night, as the Arkansas Razorbacks play host to the SMU Mustangs.
SMU, in its second season under head coach Larry Brown and first as a member of the American Athletic Conference, opened its season with a win on a neutral floor over TCU, 69-61, and followed that up with an easy home triumph versus Rhode Island, 89-58. This is the first true road game for the Mustangs, who went 6-7 away from Dallas a season ago.
Arkansas is also off to a solid start as well, registering wins over SIU Edwardsville (99-65) and Louisiana (76-63). The Razorbacks have enjoyed the confines of Bud Walton Arena recently, as they have won 16 straight games in Fayetteville.
These two squads played in the Southwest Conference together from 1918-91, with Arkansas leading the all-time series, 94-59. The old foes haven't met since doing so during the 1995-96 season.
It was complete domination on SMU's part the last time out, as it outshot Rhode Island from the field, 55.4 percent to 30.8 percent, and forced 20 turnovers in the 31-point triumph. Nic Moore drained 7-of-9 field goal attempts, including all four tries from 3-point range, on his way to 20 points, while also handing out seven assists. Ben Moore was the only other player to score in double figures, netting 13 points off the bench, but the balanced effort saw 12 Mustangs record at least one field goal. Brown's bunch has played lock-down defense, holding both opponents to less than 36 percent shooting from the floor. The offensive effort has been stellar as well (79.0 ppg), although Moore is the only player averaging in double figures with 16.5 points per game. However, nine players tally at least 6.0 points per game, including Yanick Moreira, who leads the team with 7.0 rebounds per contest.
The Razorbacks were given a run for their money the last time out by Louisiana, and the Ragin' Cajuns even held a one-point lead with under six minutes to play. However, the Hogs finished the game on a 17-3 run to pull away. Despite a lackluster showing from beyond the arc (2-of-13), Arkansas still shot 50.9 percent from the floor and also made the most of its free- throw attempts (20-of-26). Alandise Harris provided a spark off the bench with 19 points, Michael Qualls stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Bobby Portis rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 points. The squad has barely broken a sweat through two games, as it owns a +23.5 scoring margin, a +4.0 rebounding margin and a +7.0 turnover margin. The potent attack is paced by Harris and his 17.0 points per game, while Qualls (16.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) isn't far off the pace. Anthlon Bell (13.0 ppg) and Portis (10.0 ppg, 2.0 bpg) have been impressive as first-year starters.
As well as SMU has played to start the season, it still has a lot to prove, and heading out on the road to play a team that hasn't lost in its own building in nearly a calendar year will be no easy task. It's sure to be a hard-fought matchup, but expect the Razorbacks to find a way to pull it out down the stretch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas 68, SMU 65
11/18 10:32:50 ET
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