Mustangs Win Overtime Thriller 84-79 At North Texas
Dec. 21, 2013
DENTON, Texas (SMU) - Keena Mays scored 32 points to lead SMU to an 84-79 overtime victory at North Texas Saturday. Held to just two points over the first 15 minutes of the second half, the senior guard hit a three 4:11 left in the game to pull SMU to within five, cutting the North Texas lead in half after Akil Simpson made a pair of free throws. Mays finished with 14 points in the last 9:11 of the game, including overtime, to eclipse 30 points for the second straight game, scoring a career-high 34 at UTEP on Dec. 7.
Mays scored the last four points in regulation for the Mustangs (9-2), hitting a layup with 52 seconds to pull SMU to within one. After Alexis Hyder made the first of two free throws to push the lead back to two with 35 seconds left, Mays blazed past the entire defense for a game-tying layup with 29 seconds left. The SMU defense held North Texas scoreless on the final possession, with Hyder's close-range shot rolling off the back of the rim to send it to overtime.
SMU scored the first four points in overtime, and stretched the lead to five with 1:08 left on a long jumper by Raven Short. With Laura McCoy driving for an open layup, which would have pulled North Texas (5-6) to within three with 47 seconds left, Short came across the lane for a block and chased down the rebound. Krystal Johnson then made two free throws to stretch the lead to seven, and SMU held on for its second overtime win of the season.
Simpson finished the game with 18 points, and matched freshman Kiara Perry with a team-high seven rebounds. Short finished with eight points, all in the second half or overtime. The Mustangs finished the game shooting 44.1 percent, while the Mean Green shot 35.1 percent. North Texas out-rebounded SMU 46-44, but the Mustangs forced one more turnover, 18, than they committed, 17, for a five-point advantage in points off turnovers, 19-14. Janis Peterson led the Mean Green with 23 points, and Hyder finished with 16.
Mays scored 16 points in the first half to give SMU a 37-26 lead at the break. North Texas led 7-6 at the first media timeout, with the Mustangs hitting just two of their first six shots. The Mustangs then out-scored the Mean Green 30-11 over the next 10 minutes to take an 18-point lead, 36-18 with 4:59 left in the half. SMU missed its final five shots of the half to allow North Texas back within single digits, making just one free throw down the stretch. The Mean Green scored 12 points in the last seven minutes, to cut the lead to nine at halftime.
SMU shot 39.3 percent from the field in the first half, while holding the Mean Green to a 27.3 shooting percentage. Each team made a pair of 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes. The Mustangs went 13-for-15 at the free throw line, with North Texas making all eight of its free throws. SMU held a 24-17 advantage off the glass, winning the rebounding battle in the first half.
The Mustangs play their first American Athletic Conference game Dec. 29 at No. 7 Louisville on ESPNU at 2 p.m. CT.