SMU men's basketball falls at home to Tulsa 74-66
Published: Sunday, February 20, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Despite three SMU players posting 10 or more points in Saturday's game against Tulsa University, the Mustangs three-game home winning streak was snapped in a 75-66 loss to the Golden Hurricane.
Led by Jordan Clark with 17 points, Tulsa's bench totaled 38 points, propelling the Golden Hurricane into the No. 3 spot in Conference USA polls while SMU, despite having won six of their last eight games, remains in fourth place.
SMU defeated Tulsa on Jan. 26 in a 59-58 victory but a sloppy pass game, poor ball control and several missed shots from senior Papa Dia handed the Mustangs their second loss in three games.
The Mustangs managed to take a brief lead in the first half, but the Golden Hurricane quickly pulled ahead, creating 11 points off SMU turnovers to end the half up 34-29.
"We turned the ball over way too much," Head Coach Matt Doherty said. "There were some sloppy passes and we're better than that. You can't have 19 assists and ten turnovers and expect to beat anyone."
The Golden Hurricane, shooting 50 percent from the field compared to 45 percent from SMU, also outscored SMU in the paint, 36-22 and on second-chance points, 15-5. Tulsa, the No. 3 offensive rebounding team in the league, also had 16 offensive rebounds compared to SMU's nine.
In the second half the Mustangs had a chance to stage a comeback following a pair of three-pointers from Robert Nyakundi that put SMU on top 35-34 but the lead was fleeting.
Tulsa's Steven Idlet, who finished the night with six points, hit a pair of free throws following a foul by Jeremiah Samarrippas to give his team the lead for the remainder of the game.
While the Mustangs were able to cut a 13-point lead down to three in the second half and generate 14 and 10 points from Nyakundi and Dia respectively, SMU surrendered 14 more points of turnovers and shot only 46 percent from the field.
Only down by three with three minutes left, SMU looked as if it could overcome their opponent's lead but Tulsa's rebounding kept the ball out of the Mustangs' hands until, with 30 seconds left, Samarrippas missed a three off a steal, leading to another SMU turnover.
"We've done a relatively good job of taking care of the basketball," Doherty said. "This is hopefully not who we are. This is disappointing."
Nyakundi, with a game-high 22 points, also went 5-of-7 in threes-pointers and helped set a new school record for the most threes in a single season. With 220 shots from behind the arc already, SMU surpassed the 215 shots made during the 2006-2007 season.
SMU has four games left in the regular season before playing in the Conference USA Tournament starting on March 9 in El Paso, TX.