Bloomington, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Hoping to put a demoralizing loss behind them, the 22nd-ranked SMU Mustangs play their second straight road game on Thursday night when they come calling on the undefeated Indiana Hoosiers.
Larry Brown's SMU squad opened the 2014-15 campaign with a 93-54 rout of Lamar at home, but then traveled to the Pacific Northwest to challenge No. 13 Gonzaga on Monday night. That game ended with the Ponies limping out of Spokane with a 72-56 setback. Following this bout, SMU returns home for seven straight games, with its next road tilt taking place at Michigan on Dec. 20. The Mustangs will begin American Athletic Conference play at home against South Florida on New Year's Eve.
Indiana has begun the season with a pair of easy wins over inferior foes, as it whipped Mississippi Valley State (116-65) and Texas Southern (83-64). Coach Tom Crean's club lost quite a bit in terms of proven talent after last season, but playing their first eight, nine of their first 10, and 10 of their first 12 at home should help the Hoosiers develop the confidence needed for a successful run through the Big Ten Conference.
This bout marks only the fourth all-time meeting between these two teams, with SMU having won two of the first three. The last encounter took place back in 1977, with Indiana claiming a 56-51 decision in Bloomington.
Poor shooting was SMU's undoing in the recent loss to Gonzaga, as Brown's club hit just 31.1 percent of its total shots, actually shooting better from 3- point range (6-of-16, .375). Ben Moore led the Mustangs with 11 points, and he shared the team's top rebounding effort with Yanick Moreira with eight boards apiece. Nic Moore and Justin Martin each tallied 10 points, whereas a guy like Ben Emelogu struggled in hitting only 1-of-8 shots from the floor to finish with three points. Gonzaga meanwhile, made good on 45 percent of its field goal attempts, draining 10-of-24 3-point tries along the way. The Bulldogs scored 21 points off turnovers, and outscored the Ponies in the paint, 22-16.
Moore scored a career-high 22 points in the season-opening win over Lamar, while Moreira tallied 19, Cannen Cunningham had 15 and Frazier 11 for the Mustangs, who shot a sizzling 61.1 percent from the floor while holding the Cardinals to just 31.4 percent.
Freshman Robert Johnson scored a game-high 21 points, handed out six assists and grabbed five rebounds to lead Indiana to its recent win over Texas Southern, which is coached by former Hoosiers' head man Mike Davis. Yogi Ferrell was his usual productive self in netting 20 points to go with seven assists, but he did turn the ball over five times. James Blackmon Jr. tacked on 19 points and Hanna Mosquera-Perea chipped in with 12 for IU, which converted 57.1 percent of its field goal attempts, which included a blistering 10-of-15 effort from beyond the arc.
Indiana shot 66.1 percent from the field in the opener against Mississippi Valley State, as Blackmon, Jr. scored 25 points to lead five players in double figures. The Hoosiers were guilty of 19 turnovers, an area coach Crean would obviously like to see the team get under control, which it did somewhat against the Tigers in committing 13 giveaways.
Freshman Emmitt Holt, and sophomores Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson will make their first appearances of the season against SMU, as each has served his four-game suspension. Holt was shelved for his role in the car accident that seriously injured teammate Devin Davis, while Robinson and Williams were sidelined for failing drug tests.