SMU Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams Earn 5th Straight C-USA Titles

February 28, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan

The SMU men’s and women’s swim teams each wrapped up their fifth consecutive Conference USA titles by wide margins Saturday at the CRWC Natatorium on the University of Houston campus.

It also marked the 14th straight conference title for the Mustangs dating back to 1997, when they were part of the Western Athletic Conference.

The SMU men compiled 871 points at the four-day event to beat runner-up Hawaii (833) while the women tallied 707 points to race past second-place East Carolina University (611).

On Wednesday, the Mustangs won the women’s 200 yard medley relay (1:39.25) with a lineup of Gabriella Soza, Devon Callaghan, Denisa Smolenova and Justine Clark.

Later, Sascha Van den Branden and Therese Svendsen joined Callaghan and Clark to post another first-place finish and NCAA “B” Qualifying time (7:11.99) in the 800 yard freestyle relay.

Junior Matthew Culbertson won the 1 meter diving event (361.45) for SMU before the men’s squad won the 200 yard medley relay (1:26.78) with Pontus Renholm, Hal Eubanks, David Larsson and Thomas Fadnes.

In the 800 yard freestyle relay, Nate Clark, Ed Downes, Blaz Korosec and Mindaugas Sadauskas combined to give the Mustangs another win and another NCAA “B” Qualifying time (6:28.94).

Both the men’s and women’s teams followed up with wins Thursday in the 400 yard medley relays (times of 3:12.29 and 3:36.97, respectively), and Callaghan won the women’s 200 yard individual medley with an NCAA “B” Qualifying time of 2:00.03.

SMU also took the top three finishes in the men’s 50 yard freestyle, including Fadnes (20.10 seconds), Sadauskas (20.16) and Larsson (20.26).

Friday saw more relay wins for the Mustangs, this time in the both the men’s and women’s 200 yard freestyle events with times of 1:19.07 and 1:31.84, respectively.

Culbertson won his second title of the tournament in the 3 meter diving event with a score of 411.25, and SMU claimed individual victories in the women’s 200 yard freestyle, 100 yard breaststroke, 100 yard backstroke and 100 yard butterfly.

For the men, Tom Cole (53.82 seconds) and Eubanks (55.02) each posted NCAA “B” Qualifying times in the 100 yard breaststroke while Renholm (47.76) and Sadauskas (48.61) placed first and second in the 100 yard backstroke event.

Both teams won the final relay event Saturday, the 400 freestyle, as the men posted an NCAA Qualifying time (2:56.72) while the women earned an NCAA “B” Qualifying time (3:19.24).

The Mustang men also recorded individual victories in the 1650 yard free, 200 yard breaststroke, 200 yard backstroke, 200 yard butterfly and 100 yard free, and Svendsen women’s 200 yard backstroke with a time of 1:54.98

The SMU men’s and women’s swim teams will both travel to Austin this weekend for the Austin Grand Prix, to be held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center Mar. 4-6.

Mustangs Hang On for 59-54 Win at ECU

February 24, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan

The men’s basketball team kept its post-season hopes alive Wednesday with a 59-54 win over East Carolina University at Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C.

SMU (13-14, 6-7 Conference USA) was led by 13 points and three assists from senior guard Derek Williams and seven rebounds from sophomore guard Justin Haynes.

Junior forward Papa Dia added 10 points while he and sophomore forward Robert Nyakundi each grabbed six rebounds.

The Mustangs led the Knights (9-18, 3-10 C-USA) for most of the game and connected on seven of their 18 three-pointers, including a perfect 2-for-2 from junior guard Mike Walker.

“We didn’t play great,” head coach Matt Doherty said in a post-game radio interview. “In a lot of ways it was an ugly game, but we won.”

After the score was tied at 15, SMU went on an 11-0 run and took a 26-20 lead into halftime.

ECU used an 11-for-14 performance from the free throw line to cut the lead to one point late in the second half, but a three-pointer by Nyakundi put the Mustangs up by five with just over a minute to play.

“Rob came up with big plays and he hit that big three,” Doherty said, “and we expect that from him. He’s one of the best shooters I’ve coached.”

Nyakundi, Williams and senior forward Mouhammad Faye each hit key free throws down the stretch to help seal the win for SMU.

“It’s a real tribute, I think, to this team to not play great and win on the road,” Doherty said. “We’re thrilled, we’re in the hunt.”

The Mustangs return to the Hilltop for their second-to-last home game of the regular season when they host the University of Houston (14-13, 6-7 C-USA) on Saturday.

Tip-off against the Cougars is set for 7 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.

Doherty Criticized for Interaction with Memphis Crowd

February 22, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan

SMU men’s basketball head coach Matt Doherty has received criticism in the blogosphere the last couple of days for his “give-and-take” comments at the end of Saturday’s 76-63 loss to the University of Memphis at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.

In the game’s final minutes, Doherty could be seen exchanging not-so-pleasantries with members of the Memphis crowd near the Mustangs’ bench.

One site reported that when Tigers fans began “jawing at Doherty … the coach reportedly wheeled around and started dishing some smack talk right back.”

The Jackson Sun — which called Doherty’s actions “a disgrace” — was more specific, quoting the coach as saying:

  • “At least I went to a real college and not Memphis Tech!”
  • “At least my guys actually take their SATs!”
  • “They need to take all those championship banners down because that school doesn’t exist anymore!”

In a post-game radio interview, Doherty said, “It’s fun, I enjoy that. Memphis is a basketball town … The fans here are good, they give-and take. They give me a hard time, I give them a hard time, and it’s all in fun.”

The Dallas Morning News also reported that a “skirmish” occurred between the two teams as they headed to the locker rooms following the game, but it amounted to nothing more than talking.

Doherty and the Mustangs play their next game on the road as well, this time against the East Carolina University Pirates on Thursday.

The game, which will be nationally-televised on CBS College Sports, will tip off at 6 p.m. in Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum in Greenville, N.C.

Mustangs Drop 76-63 Decision at Memphis

February 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan

The men’s basketball team twice came back from double-digit deficits, but could not pull off the upset Saturday night in front of 17,047 at FedEx Forum in Memphis.

SMU (12-14, 5-7 Conference USA) was led by 18 points from senior forward Mouhammad Faye, but the Tigers (20-7, 10-2 C-USA) went 15-for-30 from three-point range in a 76-63 victory.

“I was proud of our guys,” head coach Matt Doherty said in a post-game radio interview. “I thought that we really showed fight.”

The Tigers, who never trailed in the game, were led by 16 points from sophomore guard Elliot Williams and 15 apiece from guard Roburt Sallie and forward Wesley Witherspoon.

With 76 points, Memphis is just the third conference opponent this season to reach their scoring average against the Mustangs’ defense.

“I was disappointed that we let them shoot 48 percent from the field,” Doherty said. “Our field-goal-percentage defense has been pretty good, one of the best in the league, but they shot the ball extremely well.”

The Tigers made five of their first seven three-pointers to take a 31-14 lead just over 10 minutes into the game, but SMU went on an 11-0 run and trailed by just 10 at halftime.

Memphis once again went on a three-point binge to open its advantage to 24 points with 12:49 left to play, but another SMU scoring run – this time 14-0 – helped cut the lead to 66-58 in the final minutes.

“I’m proud of our effort,” Doherty said. “I think our guys located their shooters better [in the second half.]”

For the Mustangs, junior forward Papa Dia recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore forward Robert Nyakundi and senior guard Derek Williams each added 11 points.

SMU stays on the road for next Wednesday’s match-up with the East Carolina University Pirates (8-17, 2-9 C-USA).

The team returns home on Saturday, Feb. 27, to face the University of Houston Cougars (13-12, 5-6 C-USA) at 7 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.