The SMU men’s basketball team saw its season end with a 69-53 first-round loss to the University of Central Florida Wednesday in the Conference USA Championship tournament at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
SMU (14-17, 7-10 C-USA) took an early lead behind three-pointers from sophomore guard Rodney Clinkscales, but the Knights (15-16, 7-10 C-USA) used a 17-7 run to pass the Mustangs and led 32-30 at halftime.
In the second half, SMU committed 11 turnovers and was outrebounded by UCF in the game, 27-19.
“We just weren’t on,” head coach Matt Doherty said in a post-game radio interview. “Some of that credit goes to [the Knights], but we just were not sharp.”
Three players scored in double figures for UCF, led by 15 points from guard Taylor Young. Guard Isaac Sosa scored 14, including four three-pointers, while forward A.J. Tyler scored 12 points with five rebounds.
Senior guard Derek Williams paced the Mustangs with 15 points and five assists, and in his last career game became the 17th SMU player to score 500 points in one season.
“That’s pretty impressive for a guy who didn’t play high school basketball,” Doherty said. “He’s really grown as a player and a person.”
Clinkscales, senior forward Mouhammad Faye and sophomore guard Justin Haynes each scored nine points for the Mustangs, who did not attempt a free throw in the first half and went 0-for-4 on three-pointers in the second half.
Junior forward Papa Dia fouled out with 4:17 to play in the game, finishing with seven points, five rebounds and four turnovers.
Despite the loss, SMU still finished with its most conference wins since joining C-USA in 2005, helped in part by a four-game winning streak in late January.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Doherty said. “They’ve accomplished a lot this year.”