When SMU fell to Michigan in the finals of the 2K Classic last Friday, head coach Tim Jankovich was not too concerned. While losing is never fun, SMU’s new head coach sees losses as learning opportunities. Now the question was how the Mustangs would respond coming off their first double-digit loss since 2014.
The Mustangs rebounded with a 84-57 win over UC-Santa Barbara, a team that took SMU to overtime when it visited Moody Coliseum two seasons ago.
“I’m not surprised we came out and played this way,” Jankovich said in the postgame press conference. “I really appreciate their character, their resolve, this is pretty important to them.”
SMU had difficulty scoring inside against Michigan last week, but outscored UCSB 36-16 in the paint on Tuesday night while shooting 56 percent (29-52) from the field. Four of SMU’s starters scored in double digits.
Forward Semi Ojeleye led the Mustangs in scoring with 22 points. Ojeleye scored from all over the floor, shooting 73 percent (8-11) from the field and 60 percent (3-5) from beyond the arc. Ojeleye rattled home his first seven shots, not missing one until late in the first half.
Point guard Shake Milton finished with 12 points, the 20th double-digit scoring performance of the sophomore’s career. Jarrey Foster, the only Mustangs starter to not score in double figures, finished with six points and a career high seven assists.
The Mustangs now begin a western swing, playing their first true road games of the season. SMU will head to Los Angeles on Friday for a game against Southern California before traveling to Boise State next Wednesday. Tipoff for Friday’s game versus the Trojans is scheduled for 6 p.m. central time and the game can be watched on the Pac-12 Network.