by Dan M | Posted on Monday, January 8th, 2018


BY: Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                      Member USBWA

The SMU Mustangs Men’s Basketball team was blown out in BB&T Arena in Highland Heights, Kentucky by the Cincinnati Bearcats Sunday evening. The final score was 76-56, but the Bearcats decided this this game early. Cincinnati is a very physical team, and they pushed and shoved their way into a double digit lead in the first 13 plus minutes, and never let the margin drop into single digits again. The Mustangs trailed by 14 at halftime and got no closer than 12 points in the second half.

Cincinnati is 14-2 for the season and 3-0 in American Conference play with the win. They also extended their current NCAA leading home winning streak to 35 games. SMU drops to 12-5 and 2-2.

The pre-season predictions had Cincinnati and Wichita State as the top two teams in the conference. The first two months of play have done nothing to dispel the thought. Wichita State is 13-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play. Those two teams are giving every indication that the other ten teams in the league are playing for third place. Cincinnati and Wichita State have been ranked in every edition of the top two polls this season and moved up this week.   Wichita State is fifth in both polls, while Cincinnati is 14th in the AP and 13th in the USA Today Coaches’ poll.

Cincinnati out-rebounded the Mustangs from the start. At halftime they held a 10-3 lead in offensive rebounds alone giving them a 10-3 lead in second chance points. SMU also turned the ball over 11 times in the first half to open the door for Cincinnati to hold a double digit lead at intermission.

Candidly, the Ponies looked intimidated by the Bearcats aggressive defensive play that caused the high level of turnovers. SMU Head Coach Tim Jankovich found no answers when he went to his bench. The non-starters contributed just five points and five rebounds in the game.

Shake Milton and Jarrey Foster tallied 30 of the 56 points. Foster cashed in a 4-14 shooting night for 16 points, while Milton added 14. Foster was just a rebound away from completing a double-double, as he led the Mustangs with nine boards.

The bottom line though was that the Mustangs had no answers for Gary Clark (18 points), Jacob Evans (18 points) and Jarron Cumberland (14 points).

SMU scored just 20 points in the first half, the lowest scoring half over the past three seasons. The loss coupled with the loss to Tulane earlier in the week, marked the first time since November of 2016 that the Mustangs had lost back-to-back games. It was the largest margin of victory for an SMU opponent since last season’s loss to Michigan in Madison Square Garden.

The Mustangs have been working with the idea that this team could come on strong in Conference play like last year’s team did to finish in the Top 25. That looks like wishful thinking after they dropped two this week. This year’s team is really good at Moody Coliseum going 11-0 so far this season. However, they are just 1-5 in games played in venues other than Moody Coliseum (0-3 on the road and 1-2 in neutral site games). There are 14 regular season games remaining, split evenly between home and road. If The Mustangs hope to make the NCAA Tournament, the road performance will have to improve. Also there is no guarantee the home performance will continue. Wichita State and Cincinnati are two of the remaining seven home games.

The Mustangs are back home at Moody Coliseum on Wednesday night hosting the Temple Owls. Temple is 7=8 for the season, and 0-4 in AAC play. Game time is 8:00 PM (Central), and it will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.


  • Ben Emelogu, II has been named one of 30 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. Each of the 30 finalists is a senior in excellent academic standing and volunteers his time with charitable organizations. Emelogu has graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Performance Leadership.
  • Emelogu is shooting 60.6% from the three point line to lead the AAC.


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  1. Karl Koenig says:

    Dic, I thought we looked weak and disorganized from the git-go, and sorely missed someone with grit re rebounds. Am hopeful we’ll pull it back together shortly and turn things around. Thanks for your honest and well- done summary…..Karl

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