How it Happened
Thanks to a career high night from Semi Ojeleye, SMU pulled away late for a 66-50 victory over Temple for their seventh straight win and 16th in their past 17 games. It wasn't the prettiest first half for either side with SMU turning the ball over 9 times, while Temple was hurt by a couple sloppy passes en route to 11 turnovers. Semi Ojeleye was certainly not sloppy finishing the first half with 13 points, with 6 of those coming from the free throw line. Despite the slow start, SMU headed to the break up 10 28-18 after going on a 16-4 run to close out the half holding Temple to just one field goal in the final 11 minutes. Both sides got things going in the second half offensively as Sterling Brown heated up for SMU along with Shizz Alston for Temple. The Mustangs extended their lead to 15 with a couple gritty baskets from Sterling Brown, but they could not put Temple away as they hovered around a 10 point margin throughout the second half. One constant was Semi Ojeleye, who finished the night with a career high 30 points and 10 rebounds. A couple big blocks by Ben Moore and Jarrey Foster allowed the Mustangs to pull away late for the 16 point victory that felt much closer than that throughout.
What it Means
This wasn't a pretty win at all on the road for SMU, but it's still a solid victory ahead of Sunday's big matchup with Cincinnati. This has been a tough place to play for SMU, but they were able to squeeze out a win despite being shorthanded. The margin certainly could have been a lot greater if they had executed better, but nonetheless it is a conference road win.
Player of the Game- Semi Ojeleye
Where would SMU have been without Ojeleye tonight? The junior forward was great all night finishing with a career high 30 points and 10 rebounds. Ojeleye was efficient using only 16 shots to get his 28 and also got to the line 9 times hitting 8 of them to put a thin Temple team in foul trouble. Also impressive was Ojeleye's toughness down low grabbing a number of offensive rebounds in traffic. The Duke transfer also took a couple hard shots, but was a problem for the Owls all night.
Dashawn McDowell missed Thursday's nights contest and is in the concussion protocol. SMU also held their opponent below 65 points for the 17th straight game.
SMU heads home to play Cincinnati Sunday at 3pm CT.