Milton-less SMU falls to Tulsa

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Shake Milton watched from the bench with his hand in a cast as SMU lost in his hometown, falling 76-67 to Tulsa Thursday night.

Ben Emelogu led the Mustangs with a career-high 24 points. Junior Etou starred for the Golden Hurricane, scoring 17 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. With the loss, SMU fell to 15-8 overall and 5-5 in conference.

In the first half, Jahmal McMurray was red-hot and kept SMU in the game. He scored the team’s first 13 points of the game, and finished the half with five made 3-pointers. The Mustangs trailed 30-26 with 28 seconds remaining in the first half, when they took the lead on a wild sequence. Ben Emelogu hit a 3, and Jimmy Whitt stole a pass before knocking down a jumpshot at the buzzer. SMU went into halftime with a lead after the quick 5-0 run.

However, the Mustangs came out of halftime flat. Tulsa started the second half on a 12-0 run, and SMU was never able to bring the deficit any closer than five points. Tulsa’s Corey Henderson Jr. drilled four 3-pointers in the half, twice squashing brief SMU runs.

SMU’s offense was clearly searching for answers without its best player. McMurray and Emelogu both had good stretches, but neither was able to sustain it throughout the game. With Milton unavailable, Tim Jankovich also had a non-threatening offensive player on the floor at all times. SMU’s freshmen: Elijah Landrum, Ethan Chargois and William Douglas, combined to shoot 3-16. Walk-on James Pyle even saw first half minutes for the second time this season.

SMU engineered a 3-point centric attack Thursday. More than half of the Mustangs’ shot attempts came from beyond the arc, and they finished with a 33.3 percentage.

Milton and the Mustangs will have a week to rest up before their next game, which is in Houston on February 8.

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