The feeling seems to have come from his belief the Mustangs (11-11 overall, 4-4 Conference USA) can make a charge in the conference standings in February. After a 66-48 win over Tulane on Feb. 6, Doherty was perusing an impressive postgame stat sheet and couldn't help thinking about how good his team could still become.
"Pap (forward Pappa Dia) didn't play great," Doherty said. "And he gets 17 (points) and 16 (rebounds). ... And I want more."
Scrolling down the ledger to see the 18-point, five-assist performance of guard Derek Williams, Doherty reiterated his general sense of dissatisfaction.
"Again, I want more," Doherty said. "I want more from everybody."
SMU's five-of-six run has included four wins in C-USA play and has the Mustangs right in the middle of the pack (tied for sixth in the 12-team league) with the momentum, Doherty hopes, to carry them up at least a few more spots in the standings before the season is over.
And while Doherty was clearly pleased with his team heading toward a Feb. 10 game against league-leading UTEP, it's apparent he thinks the best from the Mustangs is still yet to come.
--Through eight Conference USA games, SMU has held opponents to 10.0 points under their conference scoring average. The only team that scored more against the Mustangs than they are averaging in C-USA games was Rice, which scored 65 against SMU and is averaging 64.6 points per league game.
--SMU's Feb. 2 loss to Southern Miss ended a three-game Conference USA winning streak, the longest the Mustangs have had since joining the league for the 2005-06 season.
ON THE SPOT: SMU doesn't have a very deep bench, which was exposed even more in last week's split with Southern Miss (a Feb. 2 loss) and Tulane (a Feb. 6 win). In those games, the Mustangs averaged 8.5 points off the bench. With the season-ending ACL tear of recently demoted starter G Paul McCoy during the Southern Miss game, the bench production doesn't appear to have much hope of improving down the stretch of the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our defense since the first of January has been pretty darn good, knock on wood. Hopefully we can keep that up." -- SMU head coach Matt Doherty.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: SMU had a hiccup Feb. 2 against Southern Miss in what has otherwise been an impressive six-game stretch that pulled the team back into the middle of the C-USA standings. The Mustangs won their fifth game in six tries on Feb. 6, four of those wins coming against C-USA opponents.
SMU 70, Memphis 60
Southern Miss 56, SMU 53
SMU 66, Tulane 48
GAME PREVIEW: vs. UTEP, Wednesday, Feb. 10
at Houston, Saturday, Feb. 13
vs. Rice, Wednesday, Feb. 17
at Memphis, Saturday, Feb. 20
at East Carolina, Wednesday, Feb. 24
IN FOCUS: SMU and Houston play Feb. 13 in a Lone Star State showdown of two teams headed in very different directions. While SMU had won five of six after a Feb. 6 win over Tulane, the Cougars' Feb. 6 loss to Southern Miss was the team's fourth defeat in five games.
ROSTER REPORT: --Sophomore G Paul McCoy tore his right ACL in a Feb. 2 loss to Southern Miss. He will miss the remainder of the season.
McCoy started 16 games this season, came off the bench in his last five games, and was averaging just 7.4 points per game after leading the team in scoring as a freshman with 13.4 points per game.
--G Justin Haynes is the type of player head coach Matt Doherty loves having in the starting lineup because he does a little bit of everything, but isn't consumed with individual stats.
An uncharacteristic five-assist game against Tulane on Feb. 6 -- Haynes had 11 all season before the game -- has Doherty worried that may change.
"I didn't realize he had five assists," Doherty said. "He's going to want to start handling the ball more now."