It may be Valentine’s Day but tonight was more about a victory than roses and chocolate for the SMU Mustangs as the Memphis Tigers made their way to Moody.
Both teams, who sit in the middle of the pack in the American Conference, came into tonight looking to end a three-game losing streak.
For the Mustangs, they’ve been riddled by injuries as of late. Leading scorer Shake Milton missed his fourth consecutive game with a hand injury. Freshman Ethan Chargois made his way back into the SMU lineup after being a late scratch on Sunday against Cincinnati with an ankle injury.
The first half was made up of solid defensive play. Memphis forced SMU to only shoot 25% yet the Tigers didn’t shoot much better at 33%. Mike Parks Jr. had a strong first half with 13 points against a slim Mustang frontline, helping the Tigers to a 29-20 halftime lead.
Jahmal McMurray and Jimmy Whitt Jr. combined for 18 of SMU’s 20 first half points which showed how depleted the Mustang lineup has become due to injury.
As the second half started, Jahmal McMurray made it clear he wasn’t letting the Mustangs go down without a fight. McMurray went on a three point shooting spree, as he single handily kept SMU within reaching distance.
Despite McMurray’s heroic efforts behind his 33 points on nine made three pointers, it wasn’t enough as his half court heave bounced off the rim at the buzzer to give Memphis the 70-67 victory.
Memphis big man Mike Parks Jr. led the Tigers with 17 points. Kareem Brewton Jr. filled the stat sheet with 16 points, six assists, and five rebounds.
Jimmy Whitt Jr. added 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists alongside McMurray’s big night.
“It felt real good. Thought it was going down but that’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes,” McMurray explained postgame about his half court heave that felt short to win the game.
“This is a pretty tough one. Kind of in a deficit the whole time and just kept fighting and fighting and fighting,” Coach Jankovich stated on his team’s effort despite the loss. “Really proud of the effort.”
The Mustangs will hit the road this weekend as they look to end their four-game losing streak against the UCF Knights.
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