Dallas, TX – In the annual Coaching for Literacy game, the SMU Mustangs and South Florida Bulls squared off at Moody Coliseum with the Mustangs looking to get back on track and continue their 9-game home streak after a road loss to Cincinnati in their last contest. The Bulls are also looking to get on track after their third is loss in a row, on the road to Tulane. South Florida was looking to find their first conference win of the year.
South Florida got out to an early lead after SMU scored the opening basket. The Bulls would go on an 11-0 run to give the crowd pause to whether the Mustangs could continue the home win streak. But local freshman Zhuric Phelps along with Marcus Weather and Kendrick Davis had other ideas. The Mustangs would go on their own runs as the trio would lead Mustangs out of the Bulls’ eye as they took a 28–27 lead with 2:57 remaining in the half. SMU would not look back and go on to win their tenth consecutive home game for the season by a score of 77-65.
South Florida came out strong controlling the paint with the 7-0 sophomore Russell Tchewa out of Cameroon and the outside play of 6-5 sophomore combo guard Jamir Chaplin. The active long combo guard knocked down shots from the perimeter, grabbed rebounds, got to the rim and finished free throws where he was 3-for-3. He ended the night with a team high of 17 points on 6-for-9 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 for beyond the arc and added two blocks.
Tchewa’s tough inside play for the Bulls rebounding on both ends and displaying a nice little jump hook over his left shoulder would not be enough to surpass the Mustangs. Tchewa would end the game with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field and 4-for 6 from the free throw line with six rebounds. South Florida wasn’t able to overcome the shooting of the Mustangs who shot 42.9 percent from beyond the arc. Phelps would lead the way shooting 3-for-5 from the arc and 7-for-10 from the field. You could see why coach Jankovich is high on the 6-3 freshman from nearby Duncanville High School. He showed good ball control, athleticism and the ability to hit from downtown. He also was able to get downhill and finish with authority. He was an unexpected surprise for the Bulls having a season high 17 points.
The second half began like the first half ended with the Mustangs continuing to get in the groove. Senior guard Kendric Davis, the team points and assist leader, would not go unheard. The undersized point guard showed craftiness with the dribble, speed and solid vision throughout the night. He ended the contest with 17 points on 5-for-14 shooting from the field and 2-for-8 from beyond the arc to go along with five assists.
South Florida would put up a fight but they couldn’t find the basket from deep as they shot 25 percent from beyond the arc. They also lost their edge in the paint and were out rebounded 32- 24. That was partly because forward Marcus Weathers got going in the second half. He outran the Bulls in transition, popped out hitting the long ball and used a combination of solid footwork, athleticism and strength to score around the rim. He also ended the game with 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 from beyond the arc to go along with six rebounds
SMU (12-4, 3-1) will travel away to New Orleans to face the Green Wave of Tulane (7-7, 4-1) Saturday, January 15th at 1pm. South Florida (5-10, 0-3) will face UCF (10-4,2-2) at home on Saturday, January 15th at 6pm.