In the first true road game of the season, SMU men’s basketball defeated Georgetown 81-73 Saturday afternoon behind four double-digit scorers.
Senior guard Jahmal McMurray poured in a game-high 19 points, while sophomore forwards Isiaha Mike and Ethan Chargois each scored 17 and senior guard Nat Dixon chipped in 11 off the bench.
SMU is at its best when its many offensive weapons are all playing in harmony: the Mustangs are 5-0 in games where at least four players have 10 or more points.
Since the return of senior guard Jarrey Foster to the starting lineup, Dixon has shifted to the role of super sub. Dixon checked into the game seven minutes into the first half, and had an immediate impact. The veteran guard slipped past the Hoyas defense to get open looks and knocked down the first three shots he took, all from three-point range. A running jumper capped off an 11-point performance in the manner of just over five minutes.
The scoring burst was crucial for SMU, who trailed 12-6 when Dixon entered the game, but led 23-17 after his fourth consecutive made shot.
“Nat was big in the first half, [he] played with senior poise,” head coach Tim Jankovich said. “I’m happy for him, he played great. Big part of the win.”
The Mustangs never trailed after the 17-5 run, holding the Hoyas to 39.7 percent shooting from the field and scoring 18 points off 13 Georgetown turnovers. The Hoyas cut into the SMU lead in the second half, but the Mustangs defense clamped down and held Georgetown without a field goal for the last 3:31 of the game.
“I’m just so proud of the way we stuck together and executed down the stretch,” Jankovich said. “We really bowed up defensively, I thought, when we needed to in the last two and a half, three minutes and we played with a lot of toughness.”
McMurray, who entered the game leading SMU in scoring with 18.7 points per game, didn’t score a point until a minute and a half before halftime, but used a 13-point second half and a 4-for-7 performance from 3 to lead the game in scoring.
Chargois, faced with a challenging matchup in Georgetown’s Jessie Govan, showed his offensive versatility, scoring 17 points with good post play and three made treys. Mike used his physicality to have a productive 9-for-13 day at the free throw line and secure a season-high nine rebounds.
“That was one heck of an effort right there, he battled,” Jankovich said of Mike’s performance. “He comes to practice every day with such a mature mindset. He works so hard. He is all about learning and attention to detail and getting a little better. That’s maturity.”
The win evens the all-time series between SMU and Georgetown at 1-1. The only previous game between the teams was when Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing was a player leading the national champion Hoyas to a 37-36 win over SMU in the second round of the 1984 NCAA Tournament.
The Mustangs have now won five of their last six games, improving to 7-4 on the year. SMU returns to Moody Coliseum for a Dec. 22 matchup with Cornell, the final non-conference game of the season. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.