DALLAS — The SMU and USF basketball teams both ended 2017 the way they spent most of the year: SMU with a win on their home floor, and USF with a lopsided loss.
Shake Milton had 14 points, and Jarrey Foster and former USF guard Jahmal McMurray added 12 apiece as the Mustangs blew away the Bulls in the second half for a 79-39 victory. SMU went on a 26-1 run to begin the second half, quickly ending any chance of the game staying competitive and clinching their 33rd straight win at Moody Coliseum.
Foster may have single-handedly sparked the Mustangs’ charge late in the first half. After a turnover near midcourt, Milton was played in with a lob pass, but it was a little out of his reach and he could only spin a wild shot off the rim. Foster followed up and dunked it home in one windmill motion that brought the somewhat sparse New Year’s Eve crowd to life.
“I always feel like dunks are worth more than two (points),” said SMU coach Tim Jankovich. “You get the two and you also get the residual effect. It always amazes me, that just charges guys up. You get to throw one down and you play better for the next two minutes.”
On offense, USF was both inept (21 turnovers) and ice cold, shooting just 28% from the field. On defense, the Bulls held up for the first 20 minutes, but were torn apart after halftime as SMU turned up the tempo and improved their ball movement, while USF continued giving the ball away and missing all kinds of shots. Good shots, bad shots, open shots, contested shots... nothing went in. The Bulls missed 11 straight to begin the second half, driving their shooting percentage as low as 17.6% at one point. They didn’t hit the 30-point mark until the final segment of the game.
Isaiah Manderson was the only USF player in double figures, tying for the game high with 14. Tulio Da Silva scored nine despite missing most of the first half in foul trouble. Malik Martin had 10 rebounds.
Leading scorer Payton Banks missed his second straight game due to an illness.
A much more winnable game is up next for the Bulls (7-8, 0-2 American) when they host East Carolina at the Sun Dome Wednesday night. Last year USF beat the Pirates 64-57 in Tampa for their only conference win.