Cougars too much for the Mustangs

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, March 8th, 2019

Houston's Breaon Brady (24) reaches for a rebound along with Southern Methodist's Isiaha Mike, center, and Ethan Chargois, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, March 7, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) ORG XMIT: TXDP107

BY:  Dic Humphrey                                                                                                           MEMBER:  United States Basketball Writers Association

The University of Houston Cougars ran past the out-manned SMU Mustangs Thursday night at the Fertitta Center on the UH campus.  The Cougars rallied from a 13-12 deficit to control the game the rest of the way in route to a 90-79 win on Senior Day.  The Cougars clinched at least a tie for the American Athletic Conference title with the win as their closest pursuer, Cincinnati, lost earlier in the evening to Central Florida, 58-56.  Houston, ranked number 12 this week in both major polls, goes to 28-2 for the season and 15-2 in conference play.  The Mustangs dropped to 13-16 overall, assuring a losing record in the regular season.  SMU is 5- 12 in conference play.

SMU was missing starting point guard Jimmy Whitt, Jr. (shoulder) for the second game in a row.  Backup point guard C. J. White suffered a concussion in practice this week, so was out Thursday and will be out again this Sunday in SMU’s regular season finale.  With Everett Ray out for the season, the Mustangs dressed just eight scholarship players for the game.  Nat Dixon suffered back spasms that limited him to one brief appearance in the second half.  Jarrey Foster, playing just his second game since getting injured against Houston early in the teams’ first meeting, was limited to 24 minutes.

Despite the short roster, the Mustangs came out of a three game offensive slump to shoot 52.2% for the game.  The 79 points they scored is the most scored against the defensive juggernaut Cougars, and it was just the fifth time that UH has allowed 70 points this season.  

Despite the good shooting night, the Mustangs simply could not get the defensive stops to win the game.  The Cougars shot a shade better at 53.1% and out-rebounded SMU 35-25, which includes a 13-5 margin in offensive rebounds.  

“I’m really, really, really, really proud of our team,” SMU head Basketball Coach Tim Jankovich said in his post-game interview on radio station KAAM 770 AM.  “I thought we just played our tails off.  I thought Houston had a tremendous shooting night.  If a few things had gone our way, we might have won tonight”

The Ponies led early by four points, and led for the last time at 13-12.  They committed 13 turnovers in the first half, and were out rebounded badly; but stayed in the game with their three point shooting.  They made seven three point shots and trailed 46-37 at halftime.

Houston went on an 11-0 run early in the second half to fully take charge of the game.  However, the Cougars largest lead was 17 points, and they were not really able to put the game away until the final minutes as the pesky Mustangs kept battling.  

Four Mustangs scored in double digits:  Jahmal McMurray 24, Ethan Chargois 21, Isiah Mike 15 and Feron Hunt 10.  Jarrey Foster scored eight points.  That left just one point from the bench, which was scored by Jahmar Young.  Mike was the Mustangs’ leading rebounder with six, and Foster was the assist leader with four.

The Cougars also put four players in double digits starting with 20 from Armoni Brooks.  Corey Davis, Jr. finished with 17, Brady Breaon added 16, and Galen Robinson, Jr. had 11.  Brooks recorded a double-double by adding 10 rebounds to his point total, and Robinson was UH’s assist leader with five.

“This was a humongous game for them,” Jankovich noted.  “I just wish they hadn’t shot the ball (so well)”, he added about the Cougars.  

Houston finishes the regular season on Sunday in Cincinnati.  A win gives them the outright regular season championship, while a loss gives the Bearcats a share of the title.  Game time is 11:00 AM Central, and CBS will televise.

SMU moves on to face South Florida in the Yuengling Center in Tampa this Sunday.  The Bulls are 19-11 overall and 8-9 in conference.  They beat SMU in Moody coliseum on February 7, 67-66, so will be trying for the season sweep of the Mustangs.  The game will be televised on ESPNU, and game time is 4:00 PM Eastern/3:00 PM Central.

NOTABLE:

  • Houston leads the all-time series against SMU 53-32.
  • It was Jahmal McMurray’s 11th game this year to score at least 20 points, and the 23rd game in which he has scored at least 10 points.
  • Sophomore Ethan Chargois’s 21 points are the most he has scored in a conference game. 

 

Tags

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>