Brown’s career-high lifts Mustangs over Tulsa, 76-53

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When SMU guard Sterling Brown was a freshman, he averaged 19 minutes per game and played a major role for the Mustangs in their breakout 2013-2014 season.

Three years ago, Brown’s contributions were mainly defensive. His ability to defend on the ball and do all of the little things made him one of Larry Brown’s favorite names to call to the scorer’s table.

Brown finished his freshman season averaging only 4.4 points per game. Fast forward to his senior season, the development of his offensive skills has made him one of the most feared glue guys in America. Brown’s three-point shot is even more feared, having shot 54 percent from deep his junior season, the best percentage in the American Athletic Conference.

Brown is getting more looks from the perimeter this season, and for good reason. Everything was clicking for the senior Saturday night in Tulsa, so much so that SMU head coach Tim Jankovich never subbed him out of the game. Brown shot 60 percent (9-for-15) from the field and 57 percent (4-for-7) from three-point range. His career-high 27 points covered the winning margin in SMU’s 76-53 win over Tulsa.

Trips to Tulsa have gone the Mustangs’ way in recent memory, with SMU having won its last six games in the Reynolds Center. The Mustangs have not lost to the Golden Hurricane on the road since 2010.

Oklahoma has been good to SMU in other ways. Since 2014, the state has become a major pipeline for the program’s recruiting efforts.

Shake Milton was the first major piece SMU recruited out of the state. In his freshman season, the Owasso native from just north of Tulsa scored 24 points in his homecoming. Playing with the confidence of a sophomore, Milton was poised to have another big night, and he delivered.

Milton added 19 points of his own. Milton hit five shots from deep on the night, bringing his total career three-pointer count at Tulsa to 12 in just two visits.

Freshman guard Dashawn McDowell, another Mustang from Oklahoma, left the game in the first half after taking a sharp knee to the head while on the floor under the basket. McDowell was able to walk off the floor, but did not return. His status has not been announced.

Forward Semi Ojeleye scored in double figures for a 23rd time this season, finishing with 16 points and six rebounds. Ben Moore grabbed 10 rebounds and added four points. Guard Jarrey Foster finished with eight points and five rebounds.

Even with some big individual performances, the Mustangs were not perfect. Tulsa scored 15 points off of 14 SMU turnovers. A sloppy night of ball security led to fewer looks at the basket. Moore and Foster combined for only nine shots from the field.

The Mustangs’ sound defense prevailed, holding the Golden Hurricane to just 37 percent shooting overall. It was the 13th time this season SMU has held its opponent to 40 percent shooting or worse. The Mustangs have now held their last 17 opponents to 66 points or less.

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