SMU took its first loss of the season Wednesday night, falling 61-58 to Northern Iowa in its first contest of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Mustangs’ schedule had been full of easy games, but the team met a tough opponent Wednesday. The Panthers stifled SMU’s offense for most of the night, as the Mustangs shot just 39 percent from the field.
Going into halftime, things looked bleak for SMU. UNI held an eight-point lead, forcing 10 turnovers and limiting SMU to just 23 points. The Panthers used a 16-0 to overcome an early SMU lead.
After that run, SMU regained its footing. The Mustangs limited their turnovers and made timely passes to generate open looks.
Jarrey Foster’s 3-pointer cut UNI’s lead to one at one point in the second half, but SMU was never able to regain the lead.
With under 30 seconds remaining in the game, Shake Milton missed a pull-up three that would have tied the game.
UNI’s 6-10 redshirt senior forward Bennett Koch gave SMU fits in crunch time. Tim Jankovich could only slot freshmen on the big man, and he got a few key points late in the game.
Another issue for SMU tonight was its three-point defense. Northern Iowa built its lead with good three-point shooting as Spencer Haldeman and Tywhon Pickford combined for seven three-balls on the night.
Milton, thrust into a bigger role as a lead scorer this season, struggled to create good looks for himself all night. He finished just 5-19 shooting on the night, scoring 14 points.
Ethan Chargois, SMU’s breakout star through the first handful of games, played only 11 minutes and did not record a point or a rebound. Jankovich opted to go with his other freshman big, Everett Ray, for most of the game. Jarrey Foster led SMU with 19 points.
SMU’s schedule does not get any easier Thursday as it faces No. 2 Arizona, which is coming off a loss to North Carolina State.