BRILLIANT COMEBACK BOOSTS MUSTANGS

by Dan M | Posted on Monday, January 6th, 2020

Image result for SMU vs Vanderbilt basketball

BY:  Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                                                                        MEMBER:  United States Basketball Writers Association

The SMU Mustangs beat the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville Saturday night 92-81 in one of the biggest comebacks in school history.  It was a back and forth game all the way, but SMU rallied from a 15 point second half deficit to send the game into overtime, and then outscored the Commodores 12-1 for the win.  SMU moves to 11-2 overall (1-0 in the AAC) as they completed their non-conference schedule with a 10-2 record and a 1-1 record against SEC competition after losing to Georgia in December.  Vanderbilt drops to 9-4 with the loss.  

“Pretty boring game,” SMU Head Coach Tim Jankovich sarcastically opened his post-game radio interview on Dallas areas radio station 770 AM.  “The first ten minutes, I don’t think we could have played any better.”

Ethan Chargois came out smoking for the Ponies.  His point total went into double digits less than four minutes into the game to lead the Mustangs to a 20-8 lead, their largest of the game.  Vanderbilt answered with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to two points, but SMU again rallied to take a double digit lead at 31-21.  However, Aaron Nesmith rallied Vanderbilt to a 40-40 tie at halftime.

In the second half, Vanderbilt seemingly took charge of the game.  Trailing 45-47, Vanderbilt went on a 13-0 run, and later pushed the lead to 15 points with 6:28 remaining in regulation.  The Ponies then cut the lead back to five points at the 1:44 mark with a 10-0 run.  

Vanderbilt looked to have the game in the bag leading by six points with 36 seconds left.  The Ponies then hit a pair of threes with a Tyson Jolly steal setting up the second one to tie the game with 19 seconds remaining.  Vanderbilt did not score in their final possession and the game went to overtime.

SMU dominated in OT to win 92-81.  Five Mustangs scored in double digits, which did NOT include Isiah Mike, who fouled out with just five points.  It was the first game this season that he did not score in double digits.  Kendric Davis (24 points) and Jolly (21 points) led the Mustangs in scoring.  For the second time this week, Emmanuel Bandoumel played his best game as a Mustang.  He played 28 minutes off the SMU bench and scored 10 points to fill the void left by Mike’s poor shooting night.

Chargois and Feron Hunt were the leading rebounders in the game with 11 each.  Chargois finished with 18 points, his best scoring game this season, to complete a double-double.  Hunt also recorded a double-double with 12 points.

Nesmith led all scorers with 29 points.  Scotty Pippen, Jr. was the only other Commodore to score in double digits with 15 points.   

An obviously pleased Jankovich raved about the Mustangs’ performance saying, “This team has so much potential.  So many great performances.”  

This game was part of a four game American Athletic Conference/Southeastern Conference Alliance.  In the other three games, Wichita State beat Mississippi 74-54. Memphis lost at home 65-62 to Georgia, and Houston beat South Carolina on the road 76-56 such that the AAC won three of the four games.  Oddly, Wichita State’s win was the only one of the four games taken by the home team.  This is a two year deal, with the same eight teams playing the same opponent next year flip-flopping the home teams. 

The Mustangs resume conference play Wednesday, January 8 at home against Central Florida.  The Knights come in with a 9-5 record overall and 0-2 in American Athletic Conference play.  Game time is 7:00 PM, and it will be televised on ESPN3.

NOTABLE:

  • The SMU football team received a huge commitment from four star quarterback prospect Preston Stone from Parish Episcopal School in Dallas.  Stone has been compared to Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford coming out of high school.  Stone was pursued by numerous schools in power five conferences.  He becomes the most highly regarded SMU recruit since the 1980’s. 
  • Team Rankings projects SMU as the number 80 team in the nation and projects a final record of 20-10 for the regular season giving them an 11% chance to make the NCAA Tournament, up from 6% before the Vanderbilt game.
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