SMU men's basketball defeats Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 59-58
Published: Thursday, January 27, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
The Mustang's 10-game losing streak against the University of Tulsa (10-10, 3-3 Conference USA) ended after SMU (12-8, 2-4 C-USA) scraped by with a 59-58 win over the Golden Hurricane Wednesday night in Oklahoma.
The win also marks the first back-to-back conference wins for the Mustangs and the second win away from Moody Coliseum this season.
"We're very fortunate to come out of here with a win," head coach Matt Doherty said. "We haven't beaten Tulsa yet, and it's something I'm really proud of. I think the MVP of this game is our [practice team] that [is] sitting out. They tried to simulate what Tulsa does and did a great job of preparing us."
Down by one basket with 1.1 seconds left, SMU's Robert Nyakundi nailed his second 3-pointer of the night to seal his team's first road win since conference play started on Jan. 8. Nyakundi's basket also counted for only three of the five points scored by the Mustangs in the final 8:20 of the game.
"That last possession, [Samarrippas] made a smart play, and found [Nyakundi]. And as the ball was in the air I knew it was going to hit," Doherty said. "He's one of the best shooters I've coached. We just feel really good rolling out of here with a win."
Nyakundi finished the night with 10 points and three steals in his team's first win over Tulsa since the 2004-2005 season.
Tulsa's leading scorer, Justin Hurtt hit a shot from the top of the key and then converted a free throw after being fouled by SMU's Mike Walker to give his team the lead at 58-56 with 8.8 seconds but both teams struggled through much of the latter part of the second half to get points on the board.
The Golden Hurricane missed seven free throws and made just three backets of their own in last eight minutes of the half.
Papa Dia, the reigning Conference USA Player of the week scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds, leading SMU in both categories, while Jeremiah Samarrippas added 13 points and six assists.
In his first game as a Mustang, Aliaksei Patsevich had three points and one steal in 12 minutes.
Tulsa went up early on the Mustangs, riding a 13 points advantage with 1:15 left in the opening half after, never letting SMU come within three points of the lead.
At the end of the first half, Tulsa already had Hurtt scoring 16 points and teammate Scottie Haralson adding 11. Hurtt, the No. 18 scorer in the NCAA with 20.3 average points per game, ended the night with 27 points.
Despite trailing by 11 points at the end of the first half, SMU came out strong in the second half, sparking a 12-2 run with 13 minutes left to tie the game at 43-43. A layup from Dia gave the Mustangs their first lead at 45-43 with 12:22 left before they began using their momentum to build a six-point lead with 8:21 remaining.
Tulsa managed to establish a 7-2 run and come within one point of SMU with just over one minute to play, before Hurtt hit his shot, followed by SMU's game-winning shot at the buzzer.
Wednesday's win also marked Doherty's first win in 11 tries against his former assistant Doug Wojcik, who coached for Doherty at Notre Dame and North Carolina from 1999-2000 and 2000-2003, respectively.
SMU plays the Rice Owls (9-10, 1-4 C-USA) on Saturday in Houston before returning to Moody Coliseum on Wednesday to host East Carolina University (11-9, 3-4 C-USA) at 7 p.m.