Slow start dooms Lions despite valiant comeback in 78-61 loss to SMU

Published 8:29 am Friday, November 19, 2021

The Southeastern Louisiana University men’s basketball team made a valiant comeback before ultimately falling to SMU, 78-61, Thursday night at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.

The Lions (2-1), despite the loss, got double-doubles from both Jalyn Hinton and Gus Okafor. Hinton, a senior, finished with a team-high 21 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Okafor recorded his fifth career double-double with SLU scoring 12 points and snatching 12 rebounds.

SLU fell behind big early on as SMU jumped out to a 13-0 lead. The Mustangs continued to run away in the first half as they led 30-5 10 minutes into the game and by as many as 30, 48-18, late in the first half as it looked like a long night was ahead for the Lions.

However, Southeastern had other ideas and they battled their way back into the game. The Lions cut the lead to 50-27 at halftime.

Early in the second, The Lions trimmed the Mustangs’ lead down to 15, 54-39, with 14:00 to go. After SMU retook a 23 point lead, SLU came storming back yet again to trim the lead to 15, 74-59 late in the game. But that was as close as they would get as the Mustangs picked up the victory.

“I’m proud of the way the guys didn’t give up on this one,” said SLU men’s basketball head coach David Kiefer. “But we need to come out better and not give teams 15-20 point leads like we did tonight.”

SMU (2-1) was led by Naismith Trophy Watch Top 50 Kendrick Davis with 25 points on 6-for-13 shooting, 10-for-12 from the free throw line.

The Mustangs finished the game 29-for-64 for 45 percent while SLU was 20-for-64. The Lions were 17-for-21 from the free throw line but shot just 4-for-29 from long range and were outrebounded, 46-37.

“When you go 1-for-13 with your two best three-point shooters and 4 of 29, it’s tough,” said Kiefer. “I thought that Gus and Ryan (Burkhardt) played really hard all night but just weren’t getting the shots to fall. But Jalyn was terrific all night long on both ends of the floor. So, we’ll take this one and get better and use it as a learning experience.”

Next up, Southeastern will return home to face Ecclesia College Monday at 7 p.m. in the University Center.

HARDWOOD CLUB/S CLUB

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