MUSTANGS ROAR PAST GREEN WAVE

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

kj lawson at SMU 2020BY:  Dic Humphrey                                                                                                                                                                               MEMBER:  United States Basketball Writers Association

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU Mustangs improved to 16-5 with an 82-67 win over the Tulane Green Wave to start the final third of the regular season.  SMU played a sluggish first half and actually trailed at halftime, but they roared back after intermission to take control of the game and beat the 12.5 point spread Las Vegas betting establishments put on this game.  

“Most of it was about defense,” SMU Head Coach Tim Jankovich said about his halftime talk with his team.  “We needed to play great defense the first half.   (We) didn’t do that.  I knew our offense would come around.”

The Mustangs got off to a sluggish start.  Tulane scored the first six points in the game and ran their lead to 9-2 before SMU kicked into gear.  The Green Wave held the lead for more than seven minutes in the first half and took a 31-28 lead to the halftime locker room.  SMU roared back in the second half scoring the first seven points as part of a 12-3 run to take charge of the game.  SMU ended up scoring 54 second half points, more than they scored in the entire game earlier in the week at Cincinnati.  Three Mustangs scored in double digits in that 20 minute span. 

For the game five Mustangs tallied double digit point totals.  Tyson Jolley led with 20 points, followed closely by Kendric Davis with 18.  Isaiha Mike added 14, with 11 of those coming in the second half surge.  C. J. White continues to press for more playing time.  He came off the bench to score a career high 15 points as he made five of seven three point shots attempted.  Feron Hunt poured in 11 points.  Davis led the Mustangs in assists and rebounds.  He was just a rebound away from a triple-double as he dished out a career high 13 assists.

Hunt did not start for the fifth straight game, but played 29 minutes.  “I was kind of mad,” Hunt said about his reduced playing time in recent games.  “But I think tonight I just came out with a different mindset.  A couple of conversations helped me through the process when I wasn’t playing.  And I showed what I can do.”

The Mustang players honored the memory of Kobe Bryant by wearing special warm-up tops for the game.  They were black with a gold Mustang on the front.  They each had either number 8 or number 24 on the back in gold, the two numbers Bryant wore during his NBA career. 

Saturday’s conference results changed the standings.  Both teams ranked in this week’s two major polls lost.  Tulsa beat number 23/22 Wichita State to go to 7-1 in conference play.  That leads the AAC, as number 20/21 Houston lost to Cincinnati falling to second place with a 7-2 record.  Cincinnati’s win ties them with the Cougars as they are also 7-2.  SMU took over fourth place alone at 6-3, one-half game ahead of Wichita State and Memphis, both at 5-3.  The top four teams in regular season receive a first round bye in the conference post-season tournament.

SMU now gets a brief break as they don’t play again until next Saturday, when they face the Temple Owls in Philadelphia.  “I look at it as a recharge week,” Jankovich said.  Temple is currently 11-10 for the season and 3-6 in conference.  They play the Tigers in Memphis on Wednesday, before hosting the Ponies next Saturday.  Game time for SMU-Temple is 12:00 Noon Eastern/11:00 AM Central, and the game will be televised on ESPNU. 

NOTABLE:

  • SEEN AT THE GAME:  Former President and First Lady, George and Laura Bush.  SMU Head Football Coach Sonny Dykes.
  • SMU is now 24-14 all-time against Tulane including 17-2 at home.  The Mustangs are also 12-1 at home this season which includes a 5-0 record in conference play.  
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