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.
#MoodyMagic was in full effect.
SMU 83, ULM 65 pic.twitter.com/5SI0k8saBH
— SMU Basketball (@SMUBasketball) November 13, 2017
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.
FULL INTERVIEW: Travis Mays joined me in the studio as SMU’s Women’s Basketball team prepares for their home opener this Friday at Moody Coliseum.
With the Mustangs tied for 2nd in the American Conference, SMU Volleyball Coach Lisa Seifert joined me in the studio to talk about her team and expectations for the rest of the season.
Ben Hicks is doing what no one thought he could.
In overtime against Cincinnati Ben hicks did what he has struggled to do for the last 19 games of his college career.
Under pressure he rolled right, being chased by two defenders. Facing a 4th-and-26 Hicks was forced to to throw on the move and across his body.
Simultaneously, Trey Quinn, the breakout transfer star and record breaking receiver for SMU cut across the middle of the field, just two yards in front of the 1st down marker.
During the 2016 season Mustang fans questioned Chad Morris’ decision to start Hicks. But with the injury to senior Matt Davis, Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock didn’t have a choice.
As the 2017 season kicked off, once again Mustang fans questioned Morris’ decision to start the sophomore quarterback over Arkansas transfer Rafe Peavy and JUCO transfer DJ Gillins.
But as Quinn cut across midfield and Hicks neared the white sideline, Hicks let fly the biggest throw of his career – a completion to Quinn which set up an SMU field goal that eventually won the game for the Mustangs.
This throwback isn’t very far back. #SMU‘s improbable overtime win over #Cincinnati, including a 4th and 26 conversion by the Mustangs. #TBT pic.twitter.com/pulwaAhU2v
— AAC Daily (@AAC_Daily) October 26, 2017
For the sophomore QB from Waco Midway, Hicks is finally beginning to receive the credit that he deserves.
Seven games into the season, Hicks ranks 16th in the nation in passing yards with 2,305. And according to ESPN.com, Hicks ranks 19th in the nation in total quarterback rating with a rating of 73.8.
Ben Hicks continuing to become more reliable for @SMU_Football. Has completed more than 70% of passes in 3 straight games. #PonyUpTempo https://t.co/YgTrTUw68e
— Jesse Carr (@jessedcarr) October 23, 2017
There is not doubt that Hicks has a lot of room for improvement, however, the sophomore appears to have a bright, long term future with the Mustangs and will play a pivotal role in the future of Chad Morris’ program.
SMU QB Ben Hicks really aired it on in the victory over Tulsa on Friday night. pic.twitter.com/ZJBZ3zteqE
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 28, 2017
The most exciting thing about Hicks is that he continues to improve every week. Most notably in that improvement has been Hicks’ ability to throw under pressure.
SMU QB Ben Hicks was great under pressure against Cincinnati in the Mustangs 31-28 OT victory. pic.twitter.com/RfXiyC5S2d
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 23, 2017
While some Mustang fans are still not sold on Hicks as SMU’s QB, he has proven time and time again that he can get the job done, and at this point in the season I support him – so should you.
Audio from Head Coach Chad Morris’ post game presser after SMU’s 35-22 defeat in Houston.