The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Men’s basketball falls in final home game of season

SMUs Derrick Roberts looks for an open teammate in Wednesdays game against No. 2 Memphis.
Stuart Palley
SMU’s Derrick Roberts looks for an open teammate in Wednesday’s game against No. 2 Memphis.

SMU’s Derrick Roberts looks for an open teammate in Wednesday’s game against No. 2 Memphis. (Stuart Palley)

The SMU men’s basketball team seemingly did all it needed to do to pull of an upset over the No. 2-ranked team in the country.

SMU rebounded well, shot a decent percentage and had a variety of players contribute on offense. The problem was what the Mustangs didn’t do: take care of the ball.

The Memphis Tigers’ frenetic defense forced 22 SMU turnovers, and the conference’s only undefeated team emerged victorious 72-55 Wednesday night at Moody Coliseum.

SMU, which has had a propensity for second-half comebacks this season, stayed within striking distance throughout most of the game, but couldn’t get over the hump.

SMU (9-19, 3-12) out-rebounded the conference’s leading rebounding team, 35-34, and shot 44 percent from the floor. The Mustangs were within 10 points midway through the second half, but the Tigers’ defense was too much for them to handle.

“We felt we were always felt in the game,” said senior Jon Killen. “They made a couple runs but we were right there with them for most of the game. We were two or three crucial turnovers from making them scared, but we didn’t and they kept the lead at about 10 to 12 points.”

Killen, Paulius Ritter and Derrick Roberts, who were honored during senior night festivities, combined for 33 points and played a combined 95 minutes.

Ritter energized his team with his aggressive play in the opening half, as he tallied five first-half boards and six points. Killen knocked down three three-pointers in the second half and finished with a team-high 16 points and eight assists. Roberts tallied nine points.

“It was kind of hard [to contain my emotions],” said Roberts. “Especially when coach [Matt Doherty] pulled us out, to know that this is the last time you’re going to play college basketball in front of your home crowd. I’m just speechless.”

Killen hit the Mustangs’ first bucket of the game, a three pointer, 2:20 into the contest.

Just one minute later, Ritter slammed the ball home to give SMU a one-point lead. Ritter hit a jump shot with 15:32 left in the first half to give SMU a 7-4 advantage, its largest lead of the game.

The quick start lit a spark in the Moody crowd, and the Mustangs gave them reason to stay energized throughout most of the opening period.

SMU stayed within arm’s length until the Tigers stretched the lead to double digits in the closing minutes.

Killen’s long-range bomb at the beginning of the game was SMU’s only first-half three-point field goal. The Tigers, on the other hand, built their advantage with hot shooting.

Sophomore Doneal Mack hit three first-half treys, and Memphis finished with five first-half three-pointers. Chris Douglas-Roberts led all scorers with 12 first-half points.

A different Roberts took over the game in the second half.

SMU’s Roberts brought his team to within nine points just minutes out of halftime when he hit the Mustangs’ second three pointer of the game. After a Memphis turnover, Roberts received a cross-court pass in transition and hit a reverse layup, bringing SMU to within nine.

Killen hit his second three pointer of the game to bring SMU back to within eight a minute later. Killen was five-for-five from the floor in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to keep Memphis from pulling away in the final minutes.

Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey made the highlight reel late in the second half when Douglas-Roberts stole the ball, returned it to Memphis’ basket, then tossed it off the backboard for Dorsey to slam home.

The dunk drew the appreciation of the 7,421 in attendance. Moody had not seen a bigger crowd since Bob Knight and his Texas Tech Red Raiders came to town in 2001.

“It was a great environment,” said Calipari. “We’re everybody’s Super Bowl.”

Douglas-Roberts, a national player of the year candidate, finished with 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Freshman Derrick Rose, who is projected to be a top-five pick in this summer’s NBA draft, finished with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

“We’re not just here to be competitive,” said Doherty. “We’re not that far away. If we cut those mistakes then maybe in a year or two we’ll win these games.”

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