SMU snaps losing streak, beats Tulane 64-50

SMU avoided its ninth consecutive Conference USA loss Wednesday with a big win over Tulane. By using a more pick and roll type of offense along with a platoon substitution system, the Mustangs stayed fresh and caught the Green Wave off guard.

SMU avoided its ninth consecutive Conference USA loss Wednesday, which would have been a program record, with a 64-50 win over Tulane.

The Mustangs (12-16-3-10) led the whole night.

"Relieved," said freshman forward Leslee Smith when asked how it felt to finally get a league win. Smith led the team with 11 rebounds. "We've been working hard in practice. A lot of teams would have given up but we stuck with it. We had to get this win tonight."

Coach Matt Doherty implemented the "44 Game" offense, which he described as more of pick and roll and hurry up and less spread.

The team has used it sporadically it different situations this season, but after scoring 54 points in the second half against Marshall last Saturday using this offense, the team decided it would be best to use it for the entirety Wednesday night.

"It's a sexy brand of basketball," Doherty said. "Guys like it because they all get to attack the basket a little more. It's pickup game-ish, yet you still have to play team basketball and disciplined basketball. It's less thinking, more attacking and free flowing."

Junior guard London Giles, who led the Mustangs with 17 points, described the scheme as their "relief pitcher offense" and said that he and the rest of the team liked it a lot.

SMU complemented the offense with a platoon substitution system to use the bench and keep everyone fresh. Ten players played 11 minutes or more and nine of 11 guys who saw playing time scored.

The scheme definitely paid dividends for the Mustangs, as they caught the Green Wave, who scored 63 points in the second half in the last meeting (and won 80-74), off guard. Tulane (15-12, 3-10) only shot 28.9 percent from the floor and went 2 of 22 from 3-point range.

Doherty plans to roll with this type of offense for the remainder of the season, which includes back-to-back road games at Houston and Southern Miss and the regular season finale at home against UTEP, before heading to the conference tournament in Memphis.

"I was born at night, but not last night," he said, smiling.

After the game, Doherty gathered his players at center court and told them he was proud of them. The remaining 1,639 fans in attendance gave the team a standing ovation.

"Our kids deserved to win and hopefully this is the start of something," Doherty said. "I said to them, ‘We're 1-0. Let's treat this like a new season.'"

Added Giles: "We can only go up from here. We have nothing to lose."

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