WICHITA STATE SQUEEZES BY THE MUSTANGS

by Dan M | Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2019

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BY:  Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                                                              MEMBER:  United States Basketball Writers Association

The SMU Mustangs wrapped up the month of January with a 4-4 record after losing to Wichita State at the Koch Arena on the Wheat Shockers’ campus, 85-83.  The Shockers’ Samajae Haynes-Jones hit a layup with one second remaining in regulation for the game winner that capped a strong second half comeback.  The win for Wichita State is just their second in conference play and halted a three game losing streak.  The Wheat Shockers are 9-11 overall and 2-6 in American Athletic Conference, while SMU falls to 12-8 and 4-4.  

The Mustangs started the game with a hot shooting hand.  They took the lead early and put 45 points on the board in the first half.  Isiaha Mike was the hottest hand.  He tallied 16 first half points with a dozen of them coming on three point shots.  Nat Dixon and Jahmal McMurray also scored eight points each, as the Mustangs shot 50% from the field (18-36), which included eight made three point baskets. The Shockers’ only lead of the half was at 3-2.  The hot shooting night largely took the crowd of 10,096 out of the game and enabled the Mustangs to take a seven point lead to the halftime locker room.

Wichita State turned the tables quickly to start the second half.  They opened with an 11-4 run to tie the game at 49 and re-took the lead at 54-53 with 13:46 left in regulation.  It was a back and forth game from there that went to the wire, as neither team ever held a lead of more than four points the rest of the way.

Mike hit a three point shot with 1:22 left to give the Mustangs their last lead of the game at 81-80.  Jaime Echenique went to the foul line twice in the final 1:07, making three free throws to give Wichita State an 83-81 lead.  The Mustangs quickly moved the ball down the court, and Jimmy Whitt, Jr.’s jumper tied the game with 19 seconds remaining.

That set the stage for Haynes-Jones game winner with one second remaining.  SMU followed with a long entry pass that was deflected out of bounds to end the game.

For SMU, Mike was the leading scorer knocking down 25 points, his season high, despite being limited to 28 minutes with foul trouble.  McMurray is from Topeka, Kansas and hosted more than 50 friends and relatives in the arena to see him play.  He didn’t disappoint putting in 19 points.  Ethan Chargois turned in a double-double with 16 points and a game high 12 rebounds before fouling out for the second game in a row.  It was Chargois’ fourth double-double of the season.  Whitt, Jr. scored 14 points and Nat Dixon added 11 as the starting five scored all 83 points in the game.

Wichita State also had five players tally in double digits.  Haynes-Jones and Erik Stevenson led with 17 points each.  The Shockers’ leading scorer on the season, Markis McDuffie put in 15.  Echenique totaled 12 points, including the critical three free throws in the final minute plus of the game, and Asbjorn Midtgaard scored a season high 10 points. 

SMU continues on the road this weekend with a Saturday game at Cincinnati.  The Bearcats are back in their on campus Fifth Third Arena after playing in Northern Kentucky’s BB&T Arena last year while their home court was remodeled. Cincinnati is tied with Houston for first place in the American Athletic Conference with a 7-1 record.   Game time is 8:00 PM Eastern/7:00 PM Central, and it will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

NOTABLE:

  • Jahmal McMurray was named to the AAC Weekly honor roll for his performance last week.  He played 39 minutes and scored 29 points, had four assists and pulled down three rebounds to lead a second half charge that resulted in a comeback win over Tulane. 
  • Jahmar Young did not make the trip as he was on the shelf with the flu.  SMU played the game with just eight scholarship players and only seven saw action in the game.
  • SMU and Wichita State are 6-6 all-time.  SMU is one of just five teams to win on the Shockers’ home court over the last six years, as they won last season in Wichita State’s initial year in the conference.
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