SMU Survives the Cat in Battle 4 Atlantis
Despite losing two games in the Bahamas, the SMU Mustangs flew home with a signature win over the No. 2 ranked team in the country.
SMU opened the tournament with a 61-58 loss to Northern Iowa, the probable champion of the Missouri Valley Conference and a solid mid-major contender.
However, the Mustangs improbable lost to UNI set up a show down between SMU and No. 2 ranked Arizona Wildcats.
And for the first time since 1967 when SMU upset Louisville, the Mustangs beat the No. 2 ranked team in the nation.
WHAT WE LEARNED
During the first half of SMU’s game against Arizona, freshman forward Ethan Chargois was forced to leave the game early due to foul trouble. Back in the starting line up coming out of halftime, Chargois scored 11 points in 4 minutes to give SMU the lead.
On the season Chargois is averaging 12 points per game while shooting 47 percent from three and 58 percent from the field.
It is quite possible that Chargois is the most talented freshman to step onto the Hilltop in a while. With his ability to shoot the three, rebound and score in the post, he brings a versatility to Tim Jankovich’s offense that will only make it more deadly.
ASSIST – SHAKE
Jimmy Whitt has embraced his role as point guard with ferocity. Averaging 5 assists and 5 rebounds a game for the Mustangs, Whitt has been doing a little bit of everything for SMU.
With Whitt playing point guard, Shake Milton has been able to fill a scoring guard role.
Despite having an over shooting percentage in the mid-30s, Milton is averaging nearly 18 points per game for SMU.
Averaging 10 points and 6 rebounds per game the story for Ben Emelogu has been efficiency. The leading scorer against Arizona, Emelogu is shooting a staggering 54 percent from three and 47 percent from the field.
After being the 6th man anchor last year, Emelogu is emerging as the dominant senior start that SMU needs.
AS A WHOLE
The losses to UNI and WKU are not ideal. But losing by a combined 5 points two quality teams is nothing to be ashamed of. And while some would argue that Arizona is overrated at No. 2, there is no doubt that the Wildcats are in the race for the Pac-12 and will be a NCAA tournament team.
Overrated or not, SMU picked up one of the biggest wins under Tim Jankovich and a win that will be heavily considered come selection time.
For the first time in years SMU has a young team with depth that will only get better with the eligibility of Jahmal McMurray.
Stay tuned Mustangs fans, this team will only get better from here…
SMU returns home to host the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday night.