MUSTANGS’ GOOSE COOKED AT HOME

by Dan M | Posted on Thursday, January 11th, 2018

DSC_0068-650x433BY: DIC Humphrey                                                                                                                     Member USBWA

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU Men’s basketball team extended their losing streak to three games Wednesday night at Moody Coliseum with a monumental 66-64 loss to the Temple Owls. The home loss was the first for Tim Jankovich as the Mustangs’ Head Coach and ended a 33 game home winning streak. The Mustangs made a furious comeback after trailing by 13 points in the second half to take a three point lead with 1:46 left in the game, but could not hold on for the win.

SMU is now 12-6 for the season and 2-3 in American Athletic Conference play. Wednesday’s loss extended SMU’s losing streak to three games, their first three game losing streak since the 2013-14 season. Temple ended a five game losing streak to improve to 8-8 for the year and 1-4 in conference.

SMU led early, but didn’t take charge of the game. Temple went to their bench for 11 points to not only stay in the game, but take the halftime lead. The Owls scored the last eight points of the half to go to the locker toom ahead by 34-28.

Most coaches say the first four or five minutes of the second half is the most important part of a game. That axiom proved to be true Wednesday. Over the first six minutes of the second half, the Owls extended the lead to 12 points at 48-36. Temple’s lead was up to 13 points with 10:18 left, when the Mustangs finally showed some heart. SMU went on a 17-3 run over the next seven minutes to lead 60-59 with 3:14 left.

SMU added two points to the lead with a pair of Shake Milton free throws, but Temple tied the game at 62 with an Obi Enechionyia three point shot. The teams traded two point baskets such that SMU had the ball in a tie game with 54 seconds left. Strategically, they needed to get a shot off around the 40 second mark to assure having the last possession with enough time to score.

However, the Ponies were slow executing their offense and missed a jump shot with 31 seconds left, leaving the Owls in the catbird seat. Temple had the opportunity to play for a shot near the final buzzer to win the game with a make or go to overtime with a miss. Temple’s Josh Brown going one-on-one with Jarrey Foster made the final Owls’ shot with 1.4 seconds remaining. SMU was unable to go the length of the floor to make a basket to win or tie.

Milton led the Mustangs with 25 points, 16 of which came in the second half to spur the comeback. Foster and Ben Emelogu each scored 11 to be the other double digit scorers for the Ponies. Foster led with eight rebounds, as SMU was again out-rebounded 40-33. Jahmal McMurray came off the SMU bench to lead with four assists.

Quinton Rose and Enechionyia did the scoring damage for Temple. Rose put in 23 and Enechionyia scored 16 to be the only two Owls in double digits.

Head Coach Tim Jankovich said about the Owls in the last minute, “Give them credit. They hit two big shots to win it. That’s pretty good stuff.”   He added about his team. “T watch the heart of our guys to come back 13 down with not a lot going on. To fight our way back I was really proud. I thought their grit and their fight was incredible. That’s why it’s such a painful loss. They scratched around to take that lead. For it to end that way was rough.”

Free throws were again a problem.   SMU hit just three of their first 11 from the charity stripe. The misses included a couple of front ends of one-and-ones. They did rally to make their final six, but a better performance would have put this game in the win column.

“In a lot of close games, we’ve just not made free throws,” Jankovich said about the free throw shooting over the season. “I’m surprised, because we’re a good shooting team and normally that equates to good free throws.”

SMU is off this weekend and resumes play next Wednesday on the road at Wichita State, The Wheat Shockers are ranked fifth in both major polls this week with a 13-2 record overall and a 3-0 record in conference play. The game will be televised on ESPNU at 6:00 PM (Central). Wichita State plays at East Carolina on Thursday, January 11 and at Tulsa on Saturday, January 13 prior to hosting SMU.

NOTABLE:

  • Shake Milton was honored before Wednesday’s game for reaching the 1,000 point mark in his SMU career.
  • The 33 game home winning streak that ended Wednesday was the second longest in SMU history, one shy of the school record set in the 1950’s.
  • SEEN AT THE GAME: New SMU Head Football Coach Sonny Dykes.
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