The Mustangs rebounded from last weekend’s loss against TCU as they crushed Texas State, 94-86, Monday night in Moody Coliseum.
SMU’s win over Texas State snapped a two-game winning streak for the Bobcats, dropping them down to 3-6 on the season.
“I’m really proud of our guys coming together in a situation where Frank Otis and Myles Luttman weren’t available,” head coach Matt Doherty said. “We had a makeshift lineup in there at times and guys responded.”
SMU (3-3) got off to their strongest start of the season, taking off on a 15-5 point run in the first five minutes of play, never giving the Bobcats an opportunity to take the lead or come within more than three points. Up by 26 points with 5:20 remaining in the opening half, SMU laid on the three-pointers, sinking seven of their 10 attempts.
Led by the trio of senior Derek Williams, junior Mike Walker and sophomore Robert Nyakundi, the Mustangs seemed like they would easily close out the first half, but Texas State got a late surge of energy in the final minutes putting the score at 52-41 at the half.
“[Mike] is as dedicated as anyone on this team,” Doherty said. “It’s hard to make the decision of when to play him. He shoots the ball very well on the scout team at practice, so I’ve asked him why he doesn’t shoot the ball like that with a white jersey on.”
Williams added a season-high 21 points in the first half along with three steals. Walker had his best game of the season closing out the night with 12 points.
Nyakundi posted a game-high 19 points in the first half, including four shots from the long range. Despite missing several games with a bruised heel, Nyakundi seemed to fit in perfectly with SMU’s offense, finishing the night with 19 points.
“He’s still not 100 percent, but you can see what I’ve talked about regarding Robert and how he could help us earlier in the season,” Doherty said. “He’s one of the best shooters I’ve ever coached.”
After the first half, SMU was shooting 55 percent from the field and 69 percent in three’s, generating 29 points from the bench and 12 points off turnovers. Despite pulling down only 15 rebounds in the first half compared to the Bobcat’s 21, SMU had nine assists compared to their five turnovers.
The Mustangs came out in the second half looking flat as Texas State quickly came within two points of tying the game, but that was the closest the Bobcats would get all night to taking over the game.
Despite outscoring SMU 6-14 at the start of the second half, the Mustangs stepped up with a three-pointer and dunk from sophomore Justin Haynes to put SMU in the lead by nine.
The Mustangs never looked back as they continued to maintain a consistent and strong lead through the entire second half.
SMU finished the game shooting 12 for 23 in three’s, their highest total of the season. The Mustangs also shot 52 percent from the field compared to Texas State’s 44 shot percentage.