SMU whacks Tulsa

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2019

_BS48875

BY:  Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                                                                                         MEMBER:  United States Basketball Writers Association

The SMU Mustangs’ basketball season lives to play another game, as the Mustangs opened the Air Force Reserve AAC Classic with a 74-65 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Thursday night in the Fed-Ex Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Mustangs took control of the game early, stretched the lead to 20 points in the second half and held off a late Hurricane charge for the win.  Tulsa finishes the season at 18-14 and has hopes of receiving a bid to a post-season tournament other than the NCAA Tournament.  SMU goes to 15-16 with the chance to move the record to .500 Friday night.

Jahmal McMurray scored the first eight points for SMU and finished as the high scorer in the game with 27 points.  He made seven of 14 shots, four of which were from three point range, and added nine free throws out of 11 attempts to account for 27.  McMurray’s season total of made three point shots is now 97, tying the SMU single season  record, which he almost certainly will re-set Friday night.

“I’m just glad we got the win today and get to play the next round,” McMurray said in the post-game interview.  

SMU Head Coach Tim Jankovich summed up the game as follows:  “Happy to be there.  The first half couldn’t possibly have gone better.  Tulsa did a fantastic job of staying with it.  They made a great comeback at the end.”

SMU was relatively healthy after missing players in recent games.  Jarrey Foster played his fourth game since returning from a knee injury.  He still wore a heavy knee brace and was also dealing with a shoulder injury.  He was able to play 25 minutes.  Nat Dixon was also available, but he is dealing with back issues and played just seven minutes.  Feron Hunt was the only other Mustang to see action off the bench as the other four starters (McMurray, Isaiha Mike, Jimmy Whitt, Jr., and Ethan Chargois) each played more than 30 minutes. 

The Mustangs put together a 10-0 run early to take a 16-9 lead with 13:48 left in the first half.  They never trailed again, pushing the lead to as many as 15 points before taking a 47-33 lead at the half.  It was the second biggest scoring first half of the season.

Tulsa went more than seven minutes before they scored in the second half.  The Mustangs didn’t shoot well, but they stretched the lead to as many as 20 points at 53-33 with 13:07 remaining.  However, the Ponies ended up making just eight second half baskets to keep the Hurricane in the game.       

McMurray led SMU with five assists to go with his 27 points.  Chargois and Foster were the other double digit scorers for SMU with 12 and 10 points respectively.  Mike and Hunt led the Mustangs with seven rebounds each.   

Jeriah Horne led Tulsa with 19 points, and Daquan Jeffries was the only other Hurricane in double digits with 15.  Tulsa out-rebounded SMU 37-36 with Lawson Korita leading the way with 12 boards.  Jeffries also led the Hurricane with six assists as Tulsa recorded 21 assists on 24 made baskets.

The other three winners in the tournament were Connecticut, Memphis and Wichita State.  They will face Houston, Central Florida, and Temple respectively in the second round of the tournament on Friday.

The Mustangs play two seed Cincinnati Friday at 7:00 PM Eastern/6:00 PM Central.  Cincinnati is ranked 24 in the AP poll and 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll this week, and they are favored on the betting line by 7-1/2 points.  The game will be televised by ESPN News.  “We’re not going to be tired,” Jankovich said after the game.  “We made up our minds.”

NOTABLE:

  • Jahmal McMurray was named second team All-Conference this week.  After scoring 27 against Tulsa, he’s scored 562 points on the season, tied for 13th all-time at SMU.
  • SMU won both games with Tulsa this season, but still trail the Hurricane 21-32 in the all-time series.
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>