The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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 defeat Boise State, 78-69

With leading scorer Bryan Hopkins watching from the bench, the men’s basketball team pulled off a physical comeback victory against the Boise State Broncos on Saturday before 3,624 at Moody Coliseum.

Hopkins has sat out the last two games with strained ligaments in his right wrist, but his absence forced SMU (9-8, 4-5 WAC) to rely on younger players and a gritty style of play to out-duel Boise State (9-11, 3-6 WAC) to a 78-69 win.

In his two-and-a-half years as a Mustang, the team had not won a contest without Hopkins in the lineup until Saturday night.

SMU, who came back from a six-point halftime deficit to shoot over 60 percent from the field down the stretch, received key contributions from freshmen Jon Killen, Paulius Ritter and Derrick Roberts, as the trio combined for 22 points and 10 assists.

The true standout of the game, however, was sophomore Devon Pearson. The only member of either team to play all 40 minutes, Pearson led the Mustangs with 19 points and set career-highs in assists (4), steals (6) and rebounds (10).

The forward from Miami, Fla., also drained five three-pointers to tie the Broncos’ Coby Karl for the game high.

For head coach Jimmy Tubbs, however, Pearson’s performance did not come as a surprise.

“Coaching him this year,” Tubbs said in a post-game press conference, “I’m getting to expect that from Devon. He’s a tough player who continues to play well for us.”

The SMU defense was kept on its toes all night trying to keep a sharp-shooting Boise State duo in check. Karl, along with Jermaine Blackburn, racked up 44 of the Broncos’ 69 points. The tandem was also 8-for-10 from beyond the three-point arc.

In the second half, the Mustangs rallied for 50 points and set the stage for its younger players to make an impact.

With less than two minutes to play, Killen was involved in a pair of fearless defensive plays to give SMU some crucial possession time as the clock ticked down. First becoming entangled with the Broncos’ Karl to force a jump ball and later making a steal on a Jason Ellis outlet pass, Killen kept his composure while hitting two late free throws to drive the Mustang lead to six.

Ritter, on the other hand, made a noticeable difference with just his size. The 6-foot-7 Lithuanian denied Boise State’s two inside weapons -— Blackburn and Ellis — of many scoring opportunities near the basket.

One of the most apparent changes between SMU’s first- and second-half offense was their ability to draw fouls and make good from the line. When the Broncos began fouling any Pony in sight in an attempt to re-gain possession, the Mustangs used the extra free throw opportunities to widen their lead, hitting 13-of-17 in the second half.

On Thursday, the team will visit the Nevada Wolf Pack (14-5, 7-2 WAC) in hopes of improving a 3-5 road record. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev.

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