Mustangs News and Notes around campus

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2016

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BY DIC HUMPHREY
DIC.HUMPHREY@YAHOO.COM

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU Men’s basketball team has just one game scheduled this week, and the rest is welcome.  Players are nursing numerous nagging injuries as the two-thirds point of the season is upon us.
“We’ve got some people banged up,” Head Coach Larry Brown said this week.
“Markus (Kennedy) needs every day he can.  Hopefully his ankle is getting better.  Nic (Moore) took a big hit on his shoulder and his head.  He won’t be practicing for a few days.”
The Mustangs go into the weekend with the best record in Division I at 18-1.  The chance for a perfect record is gone after last Sunday’s loss at Temple, which dropped the team from eighth to 13th in this week’s Associated Press Top 25.  This is the 10th consecutive week that the team has been ranked, after receiving votes in the first two polls.
Brown was asked about how his team will respond with the chance for 30-0 gone.
“I never got caught up in that (the undefeated season).  I was proud of our kids and what they’ve done.  We want to make this a great year for the seniors.  We’re still the only team in the country with one loss.  I just think we’ve got an incredible group of kids.  Whatever has been thrown at it, they’ve been resilient enough to handle it.  We lost to a really good team that played a great schedule and had an incredible shooting night.  I’ve never questioned their effort or their heart.”
Statistically, the Mustangs lead the conference in nine of 21 categories.    Nationally, the Mustangs rank in the top 25 in nine categories and in the top 10 in six.    The Mustangs are averaging 80 points per game, are shooting 51.1% from the floor, and 40.6% on three point shots.  The Ponies have outrebounded 15 of 19 opponents and have a plus 11.4 rebound margin.     SMU leads the conference in all four of those categories.  Jordan Tolbert leads the conference with 9.2 rebounds per game.
The team still has a conference championship to defend, and they go into the weekend with a 7-1 conference record, good enough for a 1.5 game lead (two games in the loss column) over Cincinnati at 6-3.  There are five more teams behind the Bearcats at either 5-3 or 4-3.  Houston is struggling, but mathematically, the Cougars are still in the race at 4-4.  At this point, there are just three teams that are essentially out of the race – East Carolina (2-6), South Florida (2-7) and Tulane (1-8).
The Mustangs host Memphis this weekend at 7:00 PM Saturday evening.  The game is televised on ESPNU.  Memphis hits town with one of the 4-3 conference records, and the Tigers are 13-7 overall.
The program got really good news this week when Harry Froling announced his intention to accept SMU’s scholarship offer.  Froling is a 6′-10” center thought to be the top high school player in Australia.  He was in Dallas last week, where he saw the Mavericks and Celtics play – his first NBA game to witness live.  A day later, he was in Moody Coliseum for the Mustangs’ tilt against the University of Houston.
He announced that SMU is his choice shortly after he returned home.
There is no question that the Mustangs need size.  They lost 7′-1” Yanick Moreira and 6′-10” Cannen Cunningham from last year’s team.  This year, the three key inside players are Markus Kennedy, Jordan Tolbert and Ben Moore.  Only Moore returns next year.  They’ll be joined by Semi Ojeleye, the Duke transfer who is red-shirting this season.
Froling was encouraged to attend SMU by his twin sisters who play on the SMU Women’s basketball team.  Alicia Froling, a 6′-3” forward, had a game for the record books earlier this week against Cincinnati.  The Mustangs beat the Bearcats 73-55 in Cincinnati.  Froling led all scorers with 33 points, and pulled down a school record 22 rebounds.  It was her 14th career double-double.  Never before has an SMU player in the Women’s program had a 30-20 game.
Three Mustangs had previously pulled down 21 rebounds in a game, including Froling earlier this season against Texas A&M, then ranked 11th in the nation.  Her rebound total of 22 is also an American Athletic Conference record.
The SMU Women’s team (9-10, 4-4) also returns home this weekend.  They face South Florida this Sunday at 1:00 PM.  The Bulls (14-5, 7-2) are ranked 20th in the AP and 18th in the Coaches Poll this week.  It will be the Mustangs’ second ranked opponent in the last three games.  ESPNU will televise the game.
On the football front, next Wednesday is signing day.  SMU has scheduled signing parties in Dallas on February 3, and Houston and Austin on February 4.  The Mustangs have 24 verbal commitments, with the most recent being from Jordan Carmouche, who switched his commitment from Arkansas.  Carmouche wants to be a running back, while Arkansas recruited him as a linebacker.  Carmouche (6′-1”, 230 pounds) is a three star prospect from Marvel that is ranked as the 84th best prospect in Texas.

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