By Sean Kennedy
SMU 75, Temple 52
Against one of the nation’s best defensive teams, Temple shot a season-low 30% from the field and were blown out by Larry Brown’s SMU squad. With the victory, SMU remained perfect at home on the season, and as is customary for the Mustangs, they got contributions from a number of players. Five 5 guys scored in double figures for SMU, led by forward Markus Kennedy who finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds.
Anthony Lee had a solid game offensively for the Owls, recording a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. However, Temple couldn’t anything down on the perimeter, shooting just 21% from three. The Owls missed their first 8 attempts from behind the arc as SMU quickly built a double-digit lead in the first half. Quenton DeCosey had a particularly off game, missing all 6 of his three-point attempts. Temple has now lost 10 of their last 11 games and have another road game in Texas upcoming this weekend when they take on Houston.
7:00 PM: Pennsylvania (4-13, 1-2 Ivy) vs. Cornell (1-17, 0-4 Ivy)
As disappointing a season as this has been for the Quakers, at least they can say things haven’t been as bad for them as for Cornell. It seems like just yesterday Cornell was facing Kentucky in the Sweet 16, but actually that was way back in March of 2010. The program has steadily dropped down the Ivy League ladder since then, culminating in this season where the lone victory for the Big Red this season came against Division III Oberlin College.
Cornell isn’t patricularly good at any area of the game, but especially struggle on the defensive end, with the 2nd-worst defense in the nation. Opponents have shot 48% from the field against them, partially due to the fact that only one player taller than 6’6″ receives significant minutes, so they’re often at a disadvantage down low. Penn will likely look to exploit that advantage with Fran Dougherty and Darien Nelson-Henry. Sophomore guard Nolan Cressler leads Cornell in scoring at 16 ppg, but shoots just 41% from the field and 30% from three. If there’s one game this season Penn should win, this would be it, and the Quakers ought to handle their business at home.
7:00 PM: Villanova (20-2, 8-1 Big East) vs. Seton Hall (13-9, 4-5 Big East) – Fox Sports 1
As they build another long winning streak (now at 4 games), the Wildcats will host some Friday night basketball at the Pavilion when they take on Seton Hall. The Pirates are a tougher opponent than their record might indicate as they have three losses this season by a single point and another two games that they lost in overtime. Villanova easily defeated Seton Hall on the road in early January, in large part due to 12-23 shooting from behind the arc. However, in that contest, Seton Hall was without both Fuquan Edwin, their co-leading scorer, and Gene Teague, their best rebounder; it will be a full-strength Pirate horde bearing down on the Wildcats for tonight’s game.
Sterling Gibbs runs the point for Seton Hall, and he and Edwin both average 14 points per game to lead the Pirates. Brian Oliver is a dangerous threat from the perimeter, shooting 43% from three at a high volume. Oliver hit 6 threes against Villanova in these teams’ first meeting. The Wildcats will counter with a red-hot James Bell, who is averaging 21.3 ppg over his last 6 games, in addition to their usual balanced attack from the entire roster. Villanova remains undefeated at the Pavilion this season and that trend should continue even against a tougher-than-they-look Seton Hall club.