For Jimmy Whitt, recording a triple double was something he’d never done, and something he didn’t think he ever would do… until Thursday night. His 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists gave SMU its first triple double since 1999 and a 91-59 win over McNeese State.
“I didn’t think I’d ever do it,” Whitt said. “I’m at a loss of words because it’s so hard to get 10 assists, 10 rebounds and 10 points all in the same game, and just to go out and do it is pretty amazing.”
With less than 10 minutes remaining, Whitt was two assists short. But on back-to-back possessions he found Isiaha Mike and Jahmal McMurray for 3-pointers. His teammates didn’t have much choice in whether they wanted to shoot.
“We were talking about it and I said, ‘I’m going to give it to you right now. Just shoot it from anywhere you touch it,’” Whitt said.
McMurray made the shot, which gave him a team-high 19 points on the night.
A secondary hero on the night was Isiaha Mike. The Cowboys hung around for most of the first half, but with SMU up 23-19, Mike scored nine points to boost the Mustangs on a 15-0 run.
Mike has struggled for much of the season, averaging just eight points per game, a step down from the 11.3 he averaged at Duquesne. Mike looks more comfortable all over the floor, making three 3-pointers and throwing down a thunderous alley-oop off of an inbound. He also seems to be finding his role in the offense better, hunting out his own shot. Mike says the difference is that he’s not putting as much pressure on himself.
“With the sit out year, I felt like I had to come in and prove myself,” Mike said. “I definitely was (putting too much pressure on myself.) I didn’t think I was but the coaching staff said, ‘You look really, really tight. You look really tight out there. Relax and let it come to you.”
Jarrey Foster also made his second appearance of the season, and struggled. He missed a couple of bunnies, and it looked like he wasn’t completely comfortable going up strong around the rim. He made just three of his nine shots.
“He’s not close to being the player that he is or that he was, or that he will be once he gets enough reps and gets his rhythm,” Tim Jankovich said.
Foster will likely not be putting up triple doubles any time soon, but SMU needs him to return to form to reach its ceiling.