WICHITA, Kan. (SMU) – SMU entered Koch Arena and did something that no team had accomplished in the last time 27 tries: beat Wichita State. Preseason American Player of the Year Shake Milton delivered his finest performance of the season as SMU gave No. 7 Wichita State its first-ever American Athletic Conference loss with the 83-78 victory.
Milton was simply fantastic for the Mustangs on Wednesday night, pouring in a career-high 33 points on 11-of-14 shooting. When SMU needed a bucket to quell a Shockers’ rally, it seemed like Milton always had the answer. Milton either scored or assisted on more than half of SMU’s baskets (16 of 30) as he rolled to the second-most points scored by a player against Wichita State all season.
Wichita State made pushes of its own down the stretch, but SMU found a way to respond to each one. The first came at the halfway point of the second half, with the Shockers cutting SMU’s lead to one. In a hostile environment, the Mustangs never blinked, rattling off an 8-0 run of their own to regain a more comfortable lead.
The Shockers weren’t finished yet, though. Wichita State hit five-straight tough shots over the final three minutes to cut SMU’s once-comfortable lead down to three with 38 seconds remaining. Once again, SMU had to answer to walk out with a victory. Once again, SMU did. Milton hit back-to-back free throws to increase it to five, and Jimmy Whitt answered Wichita’s layup with a free-throw to push the lead back out to four. One final defensive stop afterwards sealed the huge win for the Mustangs.
Playing on the road against one of the toughest defenses in the nation, SMU shot a season-high 64 percent from the floor. The win was SMU’s third of the season against a top-15 opponent, tying Oklahoma for the most in the nation.
Anytime a top-10 team falls at home, it’s considered an upset. However, SMU controlled the game from early on and never let up. The Mustangs led by as much as 13 points and for more than 33 minutes of the contest while finding a way to overcome each of the Shockers’ rallies.
While Milton was, no doubt, pivotal for the victory, he wasn’t the only Mustang making big plays on Wednesday night. Junior Jahmal McMurray had his best game as a Mustang, tying his season-high with 16 points while dropping in three shots from 3-point range. Freshman Ethan Chargois and senior Ben Emelogu joined Milton and McMurray in double-figures, scoring 12 and 10, respectively.
SMU was without junior Jarrey Foster for the majority of the game, leaving the contest after spraining his left knee early in the first half.
SMU returns home on Saturday, January 20 and looks to continue the momentum rolling, hosting Tulane at 5 p.m. at Moody Coliseum.