Mustangs highlight versatility with wins over University of Maryland Baltimore County and University of Louisianan Monroe. 

With 13 minutes remaining in the first half Friday night’s game against UMBC, eight Mustangs had already logged minutes on the court. By halftime, nine different players would rotate through the line-up.

Despite coaches and writers across the country questioning SMU’s ability to dominate in the American with the addition of Wichita State, Tim Jankovich’s squad highlighted a deep bench that SMU has longed for in previous years.

During the first minutes for Friday’s game against UMBC, Jank tweaked and experimented with the lineup. When the Mustangs took the floor Sunday versus ULM, it was evident that Jank had settled in on Milton, Foster, Emelogu, Chargois and Whitt to anchor SMU’s lineup.

Unanswered Questions – Big Guys, Big Minutes

When will Akoy Agau return and what role will he play? SMU saw big minutes from freshman big men Everett Ray and Ethan Chargois. Will Jank keep a rotation of equal minutes for the freshman or will he eventually settle in on a favorite? Both freshman had double digit minutes against UMBC, but it was Chargois who stole the show over the weekend. Getting the start in both games, Chargois averaged 27 minutes through the two games and is second only to Shake Milton in scoring, averaging 19 points per game.

Chargois’ ability to shoot and play big will pay big dividends for the Mustangs. Chargois drained his first collegiate shot on Friday night – a three from the top of the key. After going 2-5 from three against UMBC, Chargois continued to impress with his range making both of his three point attempts on Sunday against ULM. Although we are only two games into the year, Chargois’ name should be on everyone’s list of freshman of the year awards.

Fries with that Shake? 

Shake Milton led the Mustangs in the comeback win against UMBC. Needless to say he has lived up to the hype of what is expected from him as the pre-season conference player of the year. He finished the game with a career high 28 points. Milton followed up with that impressive performance with a dominant 24 points in 39 minutes against ULM. With the addition of transfer Jimmy Whitt, Milton has been allowed to play more of a shooting guard role while the offense flows through Whitt.

In short, the Mustangs can now rely on Milton to focus on scoring and defense instead of having to run the offense.

Points for Concern

Against both UMBC and ULM the Mustangs struggled early on. At times during the first half in both games SMU’s offense looked stagnant – almost slow and confused. Defensively SMU’s first half field goal defense has been bad. UMBC shot over 50 percent from the field (including three pointers) in the first half.

Despite showing some improvement on defense against ULM, the Warhawks were still able to take advantage of SMU’s slow rotation to shoot 44 percent from three. Going forward three point defense will need to improve for SMU if they are going to win the big games.

Turnovers have also plagued the Mustangs. SMU is averaging 13 turnovers per game so far.

Despite their struggles against UMBC, the sky is the limit for this SMU team that will only continue to get better – that includes giving Wichita State a run for their money for the conference championship.

SMU hosts Northwestern State on Wednesday night.

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