MUSTANGS HIJACK PIRATES

by Dan M | Posted on Monday, January 29th, 2018

DUqHnbmVoAAQPHE

 

By Dic Hunphrey                                                                                                                                                                                                       Member USBWA

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU Mustangs had little trouble dispensing with the East Carolina Pirates Sunday afternoon. They found the confines of Moody Coliseum very comfortable for shooting as they shot 61.6% for the game in route to an 86-61 win. Each member of the Ponies’ starting lineup scored in double digits. The win moves SMU’s regular season record to 15-7, and the Mustangs reach the halfway point of American Athletic Conference play at 5-4. East Carolina is in a dog fight with South Florida to stay out of the AAC cellar. They are now 8-12 overall and 2-7 in conference play.

The Mustangs opened the game with high energy and sharp offensive execution to take control early. ECU’s only lead was at 3-2 in the first minute of play. SMU’s next basket gave them the lead for good. The Ponies built the lead to as many as 12 points in the first half, but ECU hit seven three point shots to stay in the game cutting the lead to four points. However, SMU finished the half on a 7-0 run to lead 44-33 at intermission. The Mustangs opened the second half with 13-5 run to run the lead up to 19 points and essentially take away all doubt about the outcome. SMU’s largest lead was 29 points, done three times.

SMU Head Coach Tim Jankovich was obviously pleased after the game to see his team dominate after losing three of their last five games “It is a real privilege (to coach these guys),” he said. “I was blown away by East Carolina’s first half. MAN! Did they shoot the ball!” He noted about his team, “It was a good day. We needed this confidence.   We aren’t going to shoot like this all the time, but we are a good shooting team” As for where his team is with the loss of Jarrey Foster and Everett Ray for the season, he added, “We need to rest. We need to figure out some subtle adjustments to our game plan.” He mentioned that Shake Milton and Ben Emelogu were dealing with injuries that are painful, but didn’t prevent them from playing. He was especially pleased to see two players step up their game. “I thought Jimmy (Whitt) was great.” He also complimented Ethan Chargois. “It’s always fun when he has the three ball.” Chargois was 3-5 from the three point stripe.

Two Mustangs scored 20 points, and surprisingly, neither was named Shake Milton. Jimmy Whitt, JR. and Jahmal McMurray set their SMU highs with exactly 20 points. It was also a career high for Whitt. The pair combined to hit 17 of 23 shots in the game – 74%! Ethan Chargois woke up from a recent scoring slumber to put in 16 points. Ben Emelogu injured his knee in Thursday’s game against Connecticut, but he was good to go at the start and scored 13 points, as he made three of six three point shots. Milton snuck in with 11 points to keep his streak of scoring in double digits alive. He has scored at least 10 points in every game this year.

The Mustangs finally out-rebounded their opponent – 31-24. Those low totals are a result of the hot shooting. There were fewer rebounds to be had. Chargois led the Mustangs with six boards. Whitt also led the Mustangs with four assists.

Isaac Fleming was East Carolina’s leading scorer with 17. Shawn Williams was the only other Pirate in double digits with 14 points.

The Mustangs now go on the road to Tulsa next Thursday. It will be the only meeting between these two teams this season. Tulsa is 11-10 and 4-5 so far, but they are very good at the Reynolds Center on their campus. Meanwhile, the Mustangs are not very good away from Moody Coliseum. SMU is 1-4 in pure road games and 2-6 away from Moody counting neutral site games. It’s a game the Mustangs desperately need to win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Game time is 7:00 PM (Central), and it will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

NOTABLE:

  • Former SMU great Gene Phillips had his uniform form number 23 retired at halftime. Phillips was the Player of the Year in the Southwest Conference in all three seasons that he played. (Freshmen were not eligible in those days.) He averaged 27 points per game in his career and set the Southwest Conference record with 51 points scored in a game against Texas at Gregory Gymnasium. That record was set before there was a three point shot or shot clock in college basketball. He became the third Mustang alum to have his number retired, joining Jim Krebs and Jon Koncak.
  • Shake Milton has now scored in double digits in 23 straight games. HE was 2-2 from the free throw line to extend his current streak to 24 consecutive made free throws.
Tags
Displaying 1 Comments
Add Your Comment
  1. Karl Koenig says:

    Dic, The usual great summary, particularly for a “healing guy”. Loved just reading about the accolades for Gene Phillips in the DMN. Brought back fond memories of his playing so well. Hope to see you again soon….KK

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>