Semi Ojeleye explodes
It's hard to pick an MVP from Thursday's game. Every starter scored in double figures and played good defense. But Semi Ojeleye's performance was the most efficient. He made all nine of his field goal attempts (all three of his 3s) and scored 26 points. The 26 points are tied for the third-most he's scored this year, but the nine field goal attempts are tied for the fewest he's taken in conference play.
"If he went 9-for-9, obviously the coach didn’t get him enough shots," SMU head coach Tim Jankovich quipped.
As Ojeleye has shown most of the year, he was too strong for Tulsa's big men, and quick enough to get by its guards. He had one of his better defensive games too. He picked off an inbound pass by undercutting its intended target. Later, when Jaleel Wheeler looked like he had an easy layup on the weak side, Ojeleye appeared out of nowhere and swatted away his shot attempt. The only thing Ojeleye would change from Thursday was his two missed free throws.
"I'll be in here tomorrow," he said, smiling.
Jarrey Foster shows creation
Jarrey Foster has given SMU good defense, explosiveness at the rim and perimeter shooting this season. Thursday, he showed he could score off the dribble and create shots. Five of his nine made field goals were unassisted. He scored 18 points - one off his season high - in just 24 minutes. He didn't even need a 3-pointer to do it, and he missed just two shots. He made a mid-range jumper off the dribble. He hit a jump-hook in the post that he set up with the dribble. He drove for a layup along the baseline against Tulsa's zone. And, of course, he made four dunks. Three were assisted by Shake Milton.
SMU scores efficiently
Led by Semi Ojeleye’s 9-for-9 shooting performance, SMU turned in an incredibly efficient performance on offense. The Mustangs finished the game shooting 60 percent, and went 10-for-19 from beyond the arc. When the starting five was on the floor, the Mustangs were able to get any shot they wanted. Well-executed plays and good drives set up alley-oops and open 3s, and SMU did not miss those. Everyone in SMU’s starting five shot 50 percent or better, and they shot 71.1 percent as a group. On the other hand, Tulsa had just two players who shot better than 50 percent. One of them was Will Magnay, who went 1-for-1. The combination of SMU’s ability to create good looks, and knock down shots made them a lethal offensive team tonight.
PonyStampede's Phil Mayer contributed.