How it Happened
After playing one of their worst halves of the season, SMU bounced back in the second half to take down Tulane. The Green Wave got off to a red-hot start in the first half, improbably pulling ahead by 15 points before halftime. They made seven of their first 14 three-pointers, and Cam Reynolds scored 15 first half points. SMU looked sluggish on defense, allowing dribble penetration to Tulane after playing like a brick wall against Cincinnati. They also were not able to get anything going on offense, missing open looks when they did get them. SMU was 1-10 from three in the first half, Semi Ojeleye was 0-9.
SMU seemed to snap out of it five minutes into the second half, going on a 13-2 run. Ojeleye found his stroke, making back-to-back threes to cut to Tulane's lead to one. Sterling Brown gave SMU the lead shortly thereafter, scooping up a loose ball and finishing an and-one layup. Jarrey Foster had an impressive stretch of three straight dunks. He threw down a transition euro-step, a driving posterization of Tulane center Sammis Reyes, and a two-handed follow jam. FOster finished with 19 points. SMU's defense reverted back to form in the second half, aggressively trapping and quickly recovering.
What it Means
If SMU had lost this game, it would have been their clear-cut worst loss of the season. Tulane was 4-20 coming into this game, with a loss McNeese State, who SMU thrashed by 36. The Mustangs displayed their resiliency in this one, refusing to quit after a horrible start and shaking off their poor first half performance to take over the second half. As it stands, beating Tulane by five at home is nothing to brag about, but SMU will take the win.
Player of the Game
Ben Moore was the only Mustang to play a consistent game. He racked up a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds, playing with his usual hustle on both ends of the floor. In the second half, they isolated Moore against Tulane's plodding center Ryan Smith, surrounding Moore with 4 shooters Moore consistently beat Smith off the dribble, either getting good layup attempts for himself or finding an open teammate when help came.
Dashawn McDowell was active after missing the last two games with a concussion, but did not play in the game. SMU had not allowed more than 66 points since their loss in Boise State in November; Tulane broke that streak tonight.
SMU plays in Houston Saturday at 5 p.m. CT.