How it Happened
SMU used an 11-0 run to erase a nine-point deficit, but allowed Tulsa to stay within seven points and use a 27-17 run to close the game. Tulsa led 36-33 at halftime, scoring 10 fast-break points, eight off steals. The Mustangs also made just eight of 25 two-point attempts in the first half. Markus Kennedy sparked a nine-point second-half comeback with 13 points and two assists that resulted in Jordan Tolbert layups. SMU would lead until the 3:24 mark, when Pat Birt’s three-pointer put Tulsa ahead. Sterling Brown answered with a three of his own, but D’Andre Wright’s go-ahead layup with 1:58 to go put the Golden Hurricane in the lead for good.
What it Means
SMU let a middle-of-the-pack team hang around for the first half and then come back in the second half, just as it did at Houston. It scored just six field goals in the final 10:31, similar to the offensive drought it suffered late against Houston. SMU is now 9-3 in conference play. If Temple wins at home vs. Connecticut tomorrow, it will be tied with SMU for first place.
Player of the Game
Pat Birt. The junior college transfer scored 12 second-half points, including a three-pointer with 3:24 left that gave Tulsa its first lead in over ten minutes and another that gave the Golden Hurricane a four-point lead with 33 seconds left. He finished with 17 points and made four of his six three-point attempts.
SMU shot a higher percentage from three (47.8) than it did from two (42.5). The misses from closer distance were a big factor in the Mustangs' 19 offensive rebounds.
SMU hosts Gonzaga at 9 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN2.