Missouri State (2-3) vs. SMU (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 25, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Puerto Vallarta Convention Center (300) -- Puerto
Vallarta, Mexico. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 2-2, SMU 3-0. Away
Record: MSU 0-0, SMU 0-0. Neutral Record: MSU 0-1, SMU 2-0. Conference Record:
MSU 0-0, SMU 0-1. Series Record: SMU leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Missouri State Bears and the SMU Mustangs meet in the third-
place game of the Hoops for Hope Classic in Puerto Vallarta on Sunday night to
close out their holiday weekend in Mexico.
Missouri State has yet to win or lose back-to-back games this year. The Bears
split their home matchups in the preliminary round of the tournament, losing
to Jacksonville (64-58) and defeating Malone (82-49) before making the trip to
Mexico to lose in the semifinal round to South Carolina, 74-67 in overtime.
The Larry Brown-era got off to a fast start for SMU, as it opened the season
with wins in each of its first five games. The Mustangs' early-season success
pegged them as the favorite to win this tournament, but they slipped up
against Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday night, 69-56, for Brown's first
colligate loss since 1988.
SMU has won two of the previous three matchups between the two squads.
Missouri State led the back-and-forth battle against South Carolina by three
points in the final seconds of regulation, but Michael Carrera drained a
three-pointer for the Gamecocks at the buzzer to tie the game and force
overtime, where Missouri State was outscored, 16-9. By game's end, it
completed just 39 percent of its field goal attempts, including 5-of-19 from
three-point range. Marcus Marshall was impressive in defeat, logging 17
points, and Christian Kirk and Anthony Downing each tallied 16 points. Scoring
hasn't been the Bears' strong suit in the early going, as they are making just
over 40 percent of their field goal attempts, which has all but spoiled a
great effort at the defensive end (.398 field goal percentage defense).
Downing is the team's leading scorer with 14.8 ppg, but he has struggled from
both the floor (.361) and beyond the three-point line (.235). Kirk (11.8 ppg)
shoots much better from the field (.578), and Dorrian Williams (6.0 ppg) hands
out a team-high 4.6 apg.
SMU had been consistent at both ends of the floor through its first five
games, but it struggled against UALR, making only 36 percent of its field goal
attempts while allowing its opponent to drop 50 percent of its total shots.
The Mustangs were also uncharacteristically off from the foul line (14-of-24).
Still, they had four players score in double figures, led by Shawn Williams,
who tallied a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. London Giles
scored 12 points, Cannen Cunningham added 11 points and seven boards, and Nick
Russell netted 10 points. SMU is still shooting an impressive 47 percent from
the field through six games, including 41.1 percent from three-point range.
Despite going scoreless the last time out, Jalen Jones is still the team's top
scorer (15.2 ppg) and rebounder (6.7 ppg). Ryan Manuel (14.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg),
Russell (14.5 ppg, 25 assists), Cunningham (10.0 ppg), and Shawn Williams (9.7
ppg, 6.2 rpg) round out the incredibly balanced attack for the Mustangs.
Even though SMU suffered a setback the last time out, it is still off to a
great start, and it brings a deep rotation to the table that Missouri State
simply cannot match. If the Mustangs can regain their shooting stroke, they'll
get back on the winning track.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 73, Missouri State 64
11/25 10:34:53 ET
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