SMU Men’s Basketball Announces Team Awards

April 16, 2011 by · Comments Off 

by Erica Penunuri

The SMU Men’s Basketball team celebrated the decade’s most successful season at Doubletree Campbell Center on Thursday.

With their first 20-win season, first post-season bid since 1999-2000, and finishing 20-15 in the Tournament (CIT), its no wonder the 2010-2011 season has brought awards to individual players as well.

Senior and one of the Tri-Captains, Papa Dia brought home a slew of awards including; MVP, the Screener, Blocks/Deflections, Rebounds and Charges. He took his captain role to another level as he led the team throughout the season with impressive personal records.

Dia has taken 12th at SMU in points (1437), fourth in rebounds (911), fifth in blocked shots (143) and 10th in field goal percentage (51.8). The forward’s talents have also earned him spots in the following teams: 2011 CIT All-Tournament Team, NABC Division I All-District First Team, All-C-USA First Team and C-USA All-Defensive Team.

Dia also recently participated in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournment (PIT) that had only extended invites to 64 college players across the nation.

The Most Improved Player title, received by junior Robert Nyakundi, recognized the athlete’s skills and progress. From the 3-pont range, Nyakundi has set SMU and Conference-USA records. Shooting a hot 49.7 percent from behind the arc, the junior forward took second in NCAA and first in C-USA for 3-pointers.

Hitting 90 percent this season in free throws (tying the school’s record), the junior forward also took home the Free Throw Percentage Award.

Senior guard Ryan Harp received the Coach’s Award, senior Collin Mangrum finished his only season with SMU with the Hustle Award, senior guard Mike Walker earned the Defense Award, and freshman point-guard Jeremiah Samarrippas received the Best Assist to Turnover Ratio and Good Plays.

Junior guard Aliaksei Patsevich earned the team’s Academic Award and was named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll.

Coach Doherty and the six seniors all spoke at the ceremony not only about the past season but plans for the team’s future.

Mustangs Advance to CIT Semifinals After Defeating Northern Iowa

March 22, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Erica Penunuri

SMU Men’s Basketball have not seen this many victories in a post season since 1956. Thanks to Monday night’s victory over Northern Iowa, 57-50, the ‘Stangs advance to the Semifinals in the Tournament.

The game started off tight as the Northern Iowa Panthers took the lead. It didn’t take long for the Mustangs to regroup as they set the lead in little as 4 minutes into the game. From there on out, the boys not only shielded Iowa but set some great personal and team records.

Papa Dia led SMU with 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, making for his 16th double-double of the season (29th of his career).

Teammates Collin Mangrum and Robert Nyakundi followed with 11 points each. Mangrum also contributed with five rebounds and three assists while Nyakundi extended his personal best of three-pointers hit in a season to 93.

Mustangs stomped out Northern Iowa in rebounds and defensive playing.

SMU looks to break school history with making it to the fourth game in postseason. The Mustangs are the first to advance in the CIT semifinals. They either play the Santa Clara Broncos (21-14) or the San Francisco Dons (19-14) at Moody Coliseum on Friday at 7 p.m.

SMU Men’s Basketball Defeats Rice in Overtime

February 24, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Erica Penunuri

The SMU men’s basketball showed their strength Wednesday night at Moody Coliseum in defeating the Rice Owls (12-15, 4-9) in overtime. SMU Mustangs (17-10, 8-5) took the lead early on leading 15-10.

Both teams battled it out for possession until senior forward Papa Dia broke the tea-party with a lay up cutting through Rice’s defense. Much of the crowd’s momentum and intensity carried on into the court as the players picked up the game.

As tensions rose so did fouls – with less than 7 minutes remaining in the first half, SMU and Rice had tied for team fouls (6). With less than 5 min Papa Dia posted a basket bringing the Stangs to 23. Teammate Collin Mangrum followed with a 3-pointer putting the Stangs at 26, leaving Rice trailing with 16.

Coming back from the half, Rice began to pick up their game. Rice’s forward Lucas Kuipers hit a 3-pointer, dangerously closing the gap 30-28. Robert Nyakundi then hit a field goal followed by Papa Dia, who hit a slam dunk bringing Moody Coliseum to its feet.

Many fouls from Rice handed over SMU points as free shots were successfully executed by Mike Walker and Robert Nyakundi.
Rice attempted to pass up the ‘Stangs solid defense but failed as SMU’s defense did an outstanding job of playing off the ball and anticipating any rebound. In the final 11min SMU led 38-29.

With only 11 seconds left the score was 56-52. Rice came back with a game threatening 3-pointer, resulting in a time out for SMU followed by free shots tying the two teams 57-57. Moody had been on its feet the past fifteen minutes and prepared themselves for another ten, as SMU and Rice went into overtime.

SMU proved themselves successful in free throws in the overtime, hitting 80% field goals in overtime alone. With shooting power, the Mustangs managed to outscore the Owls earning them a 76-66 victory.

SMU students chanted “Hey hey hey, Goodbye!” as the Mustangs ended the game with a solid triumph in an anything but upsetting game.

Robert Nyakundi scored the game high of 26 points for SMU while Papa Dia added 20 and Mike Walker 10.

The Mustangs return to the court again Saturday the 26th at Marshall.

‘Stangs Topped by Tulsa

February 20, 2011 by · Comments Off 

The SMU Mustangs (16-10, 7-5) were defeated by the Tulsa Hurricanes (15-11, 8-4) Saturday afternoon 74-66.

Tulsa’s Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points shooting 6 for 9 from the filed, leading the Hurricanes past SMU.

Senior Papa Dia puts the ball up for a two-pointer. SMU lost to Tulsa 74-66 on Saturday. (PHOTO BY KATHERINE BRUCE/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Tulsa led the majority of the game by as many as 13 points and it wasn’t until the final three minutes that SMU was able to close the gap 64-61. SMU ended with as many as 19 turnovers.

“We turned the ball over way too much…. We are better than that,” said head coach Matt Doherty.

Mustang Robert Nyakundi lead with the game-high of 22 points, Papa Dia followed with 18 and Mike Walker 10.

This defeat snapped their three-game home winning streak and makes this their second loss out of their past 8 games.

This close game challenged SMU enough to break a school record. SMU hit 7 three pointers, setting a new school record for three-pointers made (220) in a season (record was 215 in 2006-2007).

Also, freshman guard Jeremiah Samarrippas hit a career-high of 6 steals.

SMU will be hosting Rice on Wednesday at 7p.m. in Moody Colliseum.

Mustang Basketball Brings Home a Solid Victory

February 17, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Erica Penunuri

It has been over a decade since Mustangs men’s basketball last defeated the Houston Cougars. Wednesday night’s game disrupted that curse as the SMU Mustangs (16-9, 7-4 C-USA) brought it big with Papa Dia posting 27 points, defeating the Houston Cougars (12-12, 4-7 C-USA).

SMU started strong and ended strong in shooting 62.5 percent in the first half and taking a 39-32 lead into the second half.

The ‘Stangs were able to maintain their lead with Junior forward Robert Nyakundi boosting the score with 16 points and putting the Cougars through an 8 minute scoring drought.

“I thought we showed tremendous poise in the second half building that lead, great stops on defense and took better care of the ball in the second half,” said head coach Matt Doherty. “We were very, very patient and made them chase and as a result got great shots in the second half.”

The Mustangs have won 6 of their past 7 games and had a season-high of 13 steals – the most ever for the ‘Stangs in Conference USA game. The Mustangs shot 56.8 percent from the field.

The ‘Stangs are fifth in C-USA and look for their 7th win this Saturday at home against Tulsa at 2:00pm.

‘Stangs Continue Winning Streak Against ECU Pirates

February 3, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By: Erica Penunuri

Despite snow, wind and ice, SMU men’s basketball displayed one of their most heated games yet for a fourth consecutive win Wednesday night.

Robert Nyakundi goes for a shot against ECU at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday night. (PHOTO BY STUART PALLEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The game started off tight between the East Carolina Pirates (12-10, 4-4) and the SMU Mustangs (14-8, 5-3), as the scoreboard showed little to no gap.

By the end of the first half, the Pirates held the lead (25-19). Towards the beginning of the second half Mustangs struggled to execute shots. It wasn’t until the final 15 minutes that something clicked for the ‘Stangs.

“It felt like something just went right,” senior Papa Dia said.

The final 14 minutes SMU completely shut out the Pirates not letting a single field goal in. Coach Matt Doherty attributes the fans as SMU’s winning factor,

“First of all, I think the students were the MVP of tonight’s game. They came out in force and gave us the home court advantage that we needed. I thought that they really energized our defense and at the end of the game gave us a huge lift,” Doherty said.

SMU's Papa Dia fights for a rebound against an ECU defender at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday night. (PHOTO BY STUART PALLEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

Papa Dia led the Stangs with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Robert Nyakundi scored 9 points, Jereimiah Samarripas 10 and Mike Walker 12. Walker also made game-turning three-pointers that gave the ‘Stangs momentum and lifted Moody Coliseum to its feet.

This heated victory (46-41) puts the Mustangs one game away from first place in Conference USA.

Come support the ‘Stangs here at Moody Coliseum, next Wednesday against Tulane at 7 p.m.

Check out more pictures here!

Nyakundi Brings Home a Win for Stangs

January 31, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

By Erica Penunuri

Mustangs (13-8, 4-3 Conference USA) grab another victory while on the road Saturday defeating Rice 75-68.

Robert Nyakundi helped bring home the win for the ‘Stangs by scoring a career high of 29 points, including seven three-pointers.

Papa Dia contributed 19 points and Mike Walker 13 to SMU, who have one their third game in a row.

The Owls (10-11, 2-5) led the majority of the first half, as Arsalan Kazemi scored 21 points and had a game-high of 16 rebounds.

However, Rice struggled to lock down their lead when Papa Dia scored 2:02 in the frist half, handing the lead over to the Stangs 29-27.

Nyakundi and Collin Mangrum followed with 3-pointers with 1:01 to go, and the score at 35-27, SMU.

After the Mustangs’ performance, Rice was unable to gain back their lead.

You can catch the Mustangs next match, at SMU. They play Wednesday, at 7:00p.m. at Moody Colliseum against East Carolina.

Three-Pointer Lands Victory for Mustangs Against Tulsa

January 26, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Erica Penunuri

With 1.1 second remaining in the game, junior forward, Robert Nyakundi sunk a 3-pointer from the left corner to seal the Mustangs’ victory over Tulsa 59-58, on Wednesday night.

The clutch shot was the only basket made by the Mustangs (12-8, 2-4 C-USA) in the final 8:20, yet the Golden Hurricane (10-10, 3-3) struggled to capitalize. In the final 8:33 Tulsa missed seven free throws and made only three baskets.

Hurricane’s Justin Hurt put Tulsa in the lead, 58-56, with 8.8 seconds remaining.

Senior forward, Papa Dia made 19 points, gaining back the Mustangs’ lead, while Jeremiah Samarrippas scored 13 points and Nyakundi finished with 10.

Dia managed to gather 8 rebounds and finish with six blocks to lift the ‘Stangs.

Wednesday’s victory ended Tulsa’s 10-game winning streak against the Mustangs. This was the first victory for SMU coach Matt Doherty in 11 tries against his former assistant Doug Wojcik, who coached for Doherty at Notre Dame and North Carolina.

The Mustangs suit up again in Houston against Rice, this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. You can tune in on KAAM 770 AM.

SMU’s Men’s Basketball Claims Victory at Home

January 22, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Papa Dia shoots the ball. Dia hit his career high with 102 shots Saturday. (PHOTO BY STUART PALLEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

By Erica Penunuri

SMU Mustangs (11-8, 2-3 Conference USA) defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (14-5, 3-3) Saturday 79-65. The Mustangs not only broke their two-game losing streak, but also set some school records.

The Mustangs shot 69.8 percent (30 of 43) from the field, tying the second-best shooting performance in school history.

“I’m really proud of our team,” said SMU men’s basketball Coach Matt Doherty. “They were extremely efficient. It’s the best I’ve seen my team play against a quality opponent.”

Senior forward Papa Dia shot an impressive 10-10 from the field; only the second C-USA player to hit at least 10 field goals without a miss. Dia led the Mustang attack with 23 points while contributing four blocks on defense. Dia is the 6th SMU player to reach over 100 blocks in their career.

“Pop’s [Papa Dia] was tremendous,” Doherty said. “His emotional maturity has really improved throughout the years making him a great leader.”

“Personally, I thought I took too many shots in the UB [University of Birmingham] game,” said Dia. “I am not a selfish guy. I want my players involved. It’s [basketball] is a team game. Coach said don’t worry about it. Your players want this. He helped my confidence.”

Robert Nyakundi scored 16 points, Collin Mangrum 15 and Rodney Clinkscales 12, resulting in the Mustang’s 9th victory in the last 11 home games. Nyakuni also broke a personal record with a career high of 9 assists.

Coach Doherty also credits Rodney Clinkscales, “It’s not easy to be a freshman point guard at a Division 1 level.”

The Mustangs hit the court again this Wednesday, against conference rival Tulsa. You can watch the game at Moody Coliseum or on the Time Warner Texas Channel at 2 p.m.

SMU Basketball sing the alma mater after their 79-65 win against Southern Mississippi. (PHOTO BY STUART PALLEY / SMU DAILY MUSTANG

Williams Named Team MVP at Men’s Basketball Banquet

April 19, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Nate Regan

Graduating seniors Mouhammad Faye and Derek Williams were each honored and Williams named team MVP at the annual men’s basketball awards banquet Thursday, Apr. 15, at the Doubletree Campbell Center in Dallas.

Williams, who was named Co-MVP with Paul McCoy last year, led the Mustangs with 16.6 points per game this season, good for fourth among all Conference USA players.

He also paced the team with an average of 3.7 assists in 36.4 minutes per game.

Junior forward Papa Dia received seven team honors, including the Screener, Charges, Rebounder, Blocks / Deflections, Defensive and Most Improved awards.

Dia and Williams were also recognized for their selection to the 2010 All-Conference USA Third Team.

Faye was given the Good Plays award, McCoy was honored with the Hustle award and sophomore forward Robert Nyakundi earned the Coaches Award.

In addition, junior center Tomasz Kwiatkowski and freshman guard Austin Horn were each recognized with the team Academic Award.

SMU’s two all-conference players were the most since the 2001-02 season, and the team finished with its best conference record (7-9) since joining C-USA in 2005.

The Mustangs held C-USA opponents to just 61.0 points per game, their best scoring defense in league play since allowing an average of 60.9 points per game in the Southwest Conference in 1958-59.

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