December 07, 2015

With a Big Ten opponent waiting in the wings, acting head coach Tim Jankovich wouldn't let SMU overlook its last opponent.

The 19th-ranked Mustangs' largest margin of victory in nearly two decades suggests they're ready to move forward.

With Jankovich's cautioning words of a trap game left behind, SMU can finally look ahead to its biggest test yet when it hosts Michigan on Tuesday night.

SMU (6-0) searches for its best start since opening the 1997-98 season 10-0. The Mustangs have a chance to match that mark if they win the final four of a five-game homestand leading up to their American Athletic Conference opener at Tulsa on Dec. 29.

But one game at a time is the mantra, and SMU didn't take Jankovich's warning lightly Saturday. The Mustangs plastered New Hampshire 98-44 for the program's biggest victory since a 90-34 win over Division III Hardin-Simmons on Nov. 23, 1996.

SMU, which had won its previous three games by a combined 15 points, was led by Keith Frazier's 23 points while freshman Malik Milton broke out with 20 off the bench.

Frazier made 7 of 12 shots and 6 of 10 from 3-point range, matching his career-high point total while grabbing eight rebounds. He bounced back from a scoreless effort in Wednesday's 75-70 victory over TCU.

''It's no secret Keith is an outstanding shooter,'' said Jankovich, who is filling in while Larry Brown serves a nine-game suspension. ''One of the worst things you can do is make a big thing of a bad shooting night.''

Frazier is part of a balanced SMU attack that features five players averaging double figures. Reigning AAC Player of the Year Nic Moore has averaged 15.0 points while playing through a broken pinkie finger on his shooting hand.

The Mustangs lead the AAC in 3-point percentage (44.1) and are tied with Houston atop the conference with a 52.4 field-goal percentage.

The defense, though, stood out against New Hampshire. SMU held the Wildcats to 26.7 percent shooting, including 16.7 percent from 3-point range.

''It was without question our best defensive effort,'' Jankovich said.

The Mustangs are 4-0 at home and 38-3 in Dallas since the start of the 2013-14 season.

Michigan (6-2) heads into its second true road game having won four straight since a 74-60 loss to then-No. 18 Connecticut on Nov. 25. The Wolverines have lost seven of their last eight games against ranked opponents, the outlier a 64-57 win over No. 24 Ohio State on Feb. 22.

But the Wolverines have taken care of business this month, beating North Carolina State 66-59 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Dec. 1 before routing Houston Baptist 82-57 on Saturday.

Caris LeVert finished with 25 points and eight rebounds against the Huskies while Duncan Robinson added 19 points off the bench. Robinson knocked down 5 of 9 3-pointers against Houston Baptist, and that actually lowered his percentage from deep to a ridiculous 59.5.

''Everyone keeps telling me to keep shooting, even if I'm missing,'' he said. ''Today, even the parking-lot attendant reminded me to keep taking my shot.''

LeVert, Robinson, Aubrey Dawkins and Derrick Walton Jr. are shooting a combined 67 of 122 (54.9 percent) from beyond the arc this season. Walton, however, sat out against Houston Baptist with a sprained ankle and is uncertain for Tuesday.

The Wolverines couldn't hit anything inside or outside the arc last Dec. 20 against SMU, shooting 31.5 percent overall and going 8 of 36 from 3-point range in a 62-51 loss in Ann Arbor.

Moore had 17 points for SMU while LeVert finished with four points and five turnovers.

You May Like

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)