SMU Mustangs
SMU-TCU Preview
SMU Mustangs

SMU-TCU Preview

Published Dec. 1, 2015 11:01 p.m. ET

SMU was down two starters in its last game but managed to get by, and whether they'll remain out against its crosstown rival remains unknown.

The 22nd-ranked Mustangs hope to have Nic Moore back from injury at TCU on Wednesday night, but the details of Ben Moore's suspension remain unknown.

Nic Moore missed SMU's 77-69 home win over Brown on Sunday because of a broken finger, while Ben Moore missed the game after violating team rules. Associate head coach Tim Jankovich said the former could have played through the injury, but the team didn't want to rush him.

"Hopefully only this game, but I can't say for sure," said Jankovich, who continues to fill in while Larry Brown serves a nine-game NCAA suspension for academic fraud, of the 5-foot-9 guard. "... We obviously need him in every way, but it was a good decision. We need to get him healthy, and it worked out fine and probably helped us. Sometimes when these things happen, if everything goes OK, they can actually be a positive. And I think we'll get positive things out of this, but we don't want him to be gone long."


As for Ben Moore, the team's 6-8 forward averaging 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, things are even more vague.

"I wish I could answer that, but I'm not really at liberty to do so," Jankovich said when asked of the potential length of the suspension. "Maybe soon, maybe not soon, but we're hopeful for that, too."

It made for a second straight single-digit win for SMU (4-0) over an Ivy League team after a 71-69 win over Yale on Nov. 22. All things considered, the Mustangs were pleased with the performance despite Brown going 15 of 32 from 3-point range. Brown and Yale hit 46.2 percent from outside against SMU.

"Given the circumstances, we are very happy," Jankovich said. "We had only nine scholarship players available to start. To be down two the day before the game was scary."

Keith Frazier stepped up with a career-high 23 points and could be asked to do the same even if Nic Moore returns. Frazier is averaging 14.0 points on 47.8 percent while his potential backcourt mate has struggled with his shot, scoring 12.0 points on 33.3 percent and 25.0 from 3-point range.

SMU has won the last three meetings between the former conference rivals, all of which have been decided by eight points or fewer. The latest was a 69-61 neutral-site victory on Nov. 8, 2013.

The Horned Frogs (3-2), who have lost 25 of their last 26 against ranked opponents, had a week off after ending a two-game losing streak with last Wednesday's 71-60 win over Illinois State in the third-place game of the Cancun Challenge.

"I told them to feel good about this. It's a nice plane ride home, and then we have to get ready," coach Trent Johnson said.

Their successes and failures have been pretty simple to explain. In wins, they've shot well and cracked 70 points, averaging 83.7 points on 49.7 percent. In losses, it's been the opposite - 63.5 points on 36.2 percent.

Against the Redbirds, they shot a season-best 50.9 percent as Malique Trent scored 19 and hit 7 of 12 from the field and 3 of 7 from 3-point range. He shot 27.3 percent and went 3 of 18 from outside in the losses.


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