SMU (8-4) vs. Alcorn State (2-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,500) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. Home Record: SMU 4-0, Alcorn State 1-3. Away Record: SMU 3-2, Alcorn State 1-7. Neutral Record: SMU 1-2, Alcorn State 0-0. Conference Record: SMU 0-0, Alcorn State 0-0. Series Record: Series tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The SMU Mustangs and Alcorn State Braves will both be looking to end losing streaks when they meet in the third place game of the Cable Car Classic at the Leavy Center.
Larry Brown's Mustangs suffered a 63-53 setback to Wagner on Friday in their first-round matchup to extend their losing streak to three. SMU is now 8-4 with notable victories over Loyola Marymount, Missouri State, and Utah. The Mustangs were off to a hot start out of the gates, but they have been held to 156 total points in their last three outings to drop their scoring average to 65.7 ppg. They are playing well on the defensive end with an allowed average of 61.7 ppg on 39.7 percent shooting.
Alcorn State had its losing streak grow to six games on Friday as it was defeated 70-58 by Santa Clara. The Braves are now 2-10 with seven of the losses coming by double-digit margins and another courtesy of a Division II opponent. Coach Luther Riley's team has been unable to find success on the offensive end as it is scoring only 58.3 points per game on 38.5 percent field goal shooting. Alcorn State is also surrendering 68.5 ppg and losing the rebounding battle by an average of 7.7 boards.
This matchup will break a 1-1 series tie between these schools. Both games have been played in Dallas, with Alcorn State winning the most recent matchup, 75-74, on Dec. 5, 1998.
Nick Russell tallied 20 points for SMU versus Wagner, but he also committed six turnovers in the loss. Jalen Jones contributed a double-double with 14 points and the same number of rebounds and Ryan Manuel chipped in 15 points. The Mustangs shot just 34 percent from the floor in the game while the Seahawks converted 48.6 percent of their field goal tries. Jones leads the team with 15 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest and Russell is also a threat from the backcourt with 14.2 points and 4.5 assist per outing.
The Braves' starting lineup could not buy a bucket versus the Broncos and finished a combined 6-of-34 from the field. Marquiz Baker came off the bench to net a team-best 23 points, but starting guards Anthony Nieves and LeAntwan Luckett both converted just 2-of-12 field goal tries for 11 points. Alcorn State shot 30.4 percent as a team, but made an impact at the charity stripe with 20 points via foul shots. Santa Clara managed to stay in front by hitting on 38.7 percent of its attempts from the floor. Luckett leads the team in scoring with 12.5 ppg. Nieves is chipping in 11.5 ppg, but he has also committed a team-high 46 turnovers.
Alcorn State played tough against Santa Clara overall but could not find the net enough to take down the hosts. The Braves could knock off SMU if they have a hot shooting night, but Brown's squad has some very good athletes and scorers that should be able to deliver a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SMU 68, Alcorn State 58
12/22 10:31:16 ET