MUSTANGS BREEZE PAST HURRICANE

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, January 13th, 2019

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BY:  Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                                            MEMBER:  United States Basketball Writers Association

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU Mustangs had little trouble dispensing the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Saturday night in Moody Coliseum.  The Ponies lit up the scoreboard by making a season high 13 three point shots out of 25 made baskets to run past Tulsa 77-57.  The win improves SMU’s record to 11-5 overall and 3-1 in American Athletic Conference play.  Tulsa falls to 11-6 and 1-3.

The Mustangs were playing just two days after losing to Connecticut in Storrs, and Head Coach Tim Jankovich admitted he was worried about the team bouncing back.  In preparing for Tulsa on Friday, he mainly did a film session. “We needed the rest.  I’m honestly surprised.  I hoped we’d play well, but this was beyond what I expected.  It was a very pleasant surprise, and I’m very proud of our team.  I thought the effort, energy concentration was terrific in all areas; and I thought we shared the ball probably as well as we have maybe all year.  And that’s what we gotta to do to be an outstanding team.”

Tulsa scored first on a three point basket from Sterling Taplin.  That proved to be the Hurricane’s largest lead of the night.  The Mustangs took the lead at 12-11 with13:55 remaining in the half, and never relinquished it.  SMU put together a pair of first half runs (13-0 and 10-0) that effectively sealed Tulsa’s fate.  The Mustang lead grew to as many as 17 points before the Hurricane closed out the half with an 8-2 run to trail by 11 at intermission 38-27.

It was more of the same in the second half.  The Mustangs sealed the win with a 16-4 run midway through the period.  SMU led by 25 with a little over four minutes left in the game, at which point Jankovich proceeded to clear his bench with little used C. J. White, William Douglas, Jahmar Young and walk-on James Pyle, as Tulsa cut the final margin to 20 points.

SMU’s leading scorer on the season – Jahmal McMurray – led all scorers in the game with 22 points.  Six of his seven made baskets were from beyond the three point arc.  Ethan Chargois was next with 18 points, the most he has scored in a conference game this year.  Jimmy Whitt, Jr. was the third Mustang to score in double digits with 10.  Whitt recorded a double-double as he led all rebounders in the game with 10.  He also led the Mustangs with four assists.

Chargois, who is from Tulsa, played perhaps his best game of the season.  He has been held back in recent games by foul trouble, but Saturday he picked up just three fouls and was able to play 30 minutes for just the third time this season.  “I kinda felt like I owed them from last year,” Chargois said after the game.  “I felt like I didn’t play well personally, and we lost last year at Tulsa.  I had to get the win for sure. I’m happy (for winning by 20).”  

Jankovich pointed to the team’s rebounding effort as a big reason for the win.  SMU out-rebounded Tulsa by 15 at 44-29.  That included a 15-7 margin in offensive rebounds.  “We rebounded so hard.  Whenever you rebound like that, that means you’re playing really, really hard.  They don’t bounce to you.  You have to go chase them down.  You’ve got to do it with so much passion and energy.”

Tulsa’s leading scorer was Jeriah Horne off the bench with 14.  Taplin followed with 10 points, the only other Hurricane to score in double digits.

The Mustangs host the Houston Cougars next Wednesday, January 16.  Houston is 16-1 overall, and they are tied with three teams including SMU in second place with a 3-1 conference record.  The Cougars are ranked 17th and 15th in the AP and Coaches Polls this week.  They beat Wichita State Saturday night at home, 79-70.  Game time is 8:00 PM (Central), and the game will be televised on ESPN News.

NOTABLE:  

  • Former Mustang player Ira Terrell was honored at halftime having his #32 jersey raised in the Moody Coliseum rafters.  He becomes the fourth Men’s player to be so honored, joining Jim Krebs, who also wore #32, Gene Phillips (#23) and Jon Konkak (#52).  Carlin Kennedy (#50) is the only SMU women’s team player to be so honored.   
  • SMU has now won nine of the past 11 games, including five of six at home.
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