PONIES SHAKE SHOCKERS

by Dan M | Posted on Thursday, January 18th, 2018

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Mustangs Snap Three Game Losing Streak

BY: Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                                                                                      Member USBWA

Malik “Shake” Milton scored a career high 33 points to lead SMU to a badly needed and indeed shocking win over the Wichita State Wheat Shockers. The Mustangs ended a three game losing streak of their own and ended Wichita State’s 27 game home winning streak with the improbable 83-78 victory. Wichita State falls to 15-3 on the year and 5-1 in American Athletic Conference play. SMU moves up to 13-6 and 3-3.

SMU Head Coach Tim Jankovich looked relieved after the game, saying about the losing streak, “We’ve had a lot of bad luck with injuries and illnesses. I believe in these guys,” he added and noted they have “amazing character. To pull this off on this floor against this team is absolutely phenomenal, and I could not be possibly more proud of these guys.”

This win took amazing character. Jarrey Foster, the team’s second leading scorer, left with a strained knee barely five minutes into the game. He did not return, and there is no further report on his status going forward. He is expected to undergo an MRI on Monday to assess the injury.

Starters Ethan Chargois and Ben Emelogu were limited to 30 and 29 minutes respectively as they were in foul trouble that caused them to miss significant time in the second half. Everett Ray was also injured, so the Mustangs were really short of bodies.

SMU took the lead early. They led by as many as nine points in the first half and took a 35-32 lead to the halftime locker room. The Wheat Shockers never led in the second half and SMU extended the lead to as much as 13 points with just 4:33 left in the game. However, the Shockers are ranked in the top 10 for a reason. They stormed back late forcing SMU to make clutch free throws in the final minute to hold off Wichita’s comeback.

Jankovich deserves a heap of credit for this win. The Mustangs were not scheduled last weekend, so he had a full week to prepare for Wichita State, which played twice since the Mustangs’ last game. He came out in a zone and stayed with it. Initially, Wichita State settled for jump shots as the Mustangs built the early lead. They later worked the ball inside with some success, but the hot shooting Mustangs held off every charge.

“I thought our press bothered them,” Jankovich said. “We needed this so badly. I hope it jumps our confidence back to where it belongs.”

During the losing streak, the Mustangs were out-rebounded by their opponents. Surprisingly, they were out-rebounded again 27-20. 47 rebounds is a ridiculously low total for a college game; and in this case, it’s a testament to how well both teams shot. There simply were not that many rebounds to be had.

Milton’s 33 points was his career high eclipsing his previous high of 28. He made 11 of 14 shot attempts from the field which included 5-6 from beyond the three point arc. He was also a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. He played all 40 minutes as the Mustangs’ primary ball handler and was charged with just two turnovers.

Jahmal McMurray came off the SMU bench to score 16 points to take up the slack from Foster’s absence. Ethan Chargois and Ben Emelogu were also double digit scorers for the Mustangs with 12 and 10 points respectively.

The hot shooting Mustangs shot 63.8% for the game including 70% in the second half. The Mustangs also shot 50% from the three point line and 75% from the free throw line, as they made as many free throws and Wichita State attempted – 12.

The Wheat Shockers had almost as much success shooting the ball. They were 53.6% for the game after shooting almost 60% in the second half. They matched the Mustangs’ 11 made three-point baskets, though they needed eight more attempts to do so. They also matched the Mustangs 30 made field goals. The difference in the end was the free throw line. SMU made five more for the difference in the score.

Landry Shamet led the Shockers with 20 points. Shaq Morris, Darral Willis, and Conner Frankamp also scored in double digits with 17, 12, and 11 points respectively.

Make no mistake about it, this is a HUGE win for the Mustangs. NCAA Tournament projections had the Mustangs out of the tournament after the three game losing streak. This win at least gets them back into the conversation. It is the Mustangs’ third win of the season against two losses verses ranked teams and will look GREAT on their resume come NCAA Tournament selection time.

SMU is home this Saturday for a return engagement with Tulane. Game time is 5:00 PM Central, and the game will be televised on ESPN News.

NOTABLE:

  • This was the Mustangs’ first road win over a team ranked in the top 10 since 1982.
  • This was the Mustangs’ 10th meeting with Wichita State, but the first as members of the same conference. The most recent meeting before Wednesday night was in the 1996-97 season. SMU is 6-4 against Wichita State all time.

 

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  1. Karl Koenig says:

    Dic, We watched the game as well, and loved every minute of it. Was so proud of their resilience, and my biggest treat was running into Jarrey Foster at the donut store this morning, and he said his knee was hurting but not worried about it. Thanks for the summary.

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