Kendric Davis started walking over to the bench immediately after fouling Marcus Sasser on a 3-point shot attempt. It was his fourth foul and there was still 12 minutes to play.
The Mustangs point guard — normally one of the best in the American Athletic Conference — had just missed a layup on the other end. He was mired, inexplicably, in his third-straight ice cold offensive performance.
And now, with four fouls, he wouldn’t even get a chance to turn it around. The 13-point deficit at the time would turn into a 70-48 loss to No. 6 Houston.
When Davis is at his best, SMU is the best offensive team in the AAC, and the numbers bear that out. Over the last three games, the Mustangs’ point guard has made 7-of-29 shots from the field.
“I don’t think him having three bad games — it’s not his fault at all,” said forward Feron Hunt. “I don’t think every player can play their game every game. Even Michael Jordan didn’t do it, so I don’t expect him to do it. He’ll bounce back.”
Davis speaks openly of believing he’s among the best point guards in the nation. He’s said he believes this team can compete for a national championship. Against No. 6 Houston — a team that has credibility as a national title contender, SMU didn’t look like it had the gas to hang with the best, playing its fourth game in the last eight days. The Mustangs were outrebounded 28-11 in the second half.
“I thought in the first half, we played incredibly hard and we boxed out,” said acting co-head coach Yaphett King.
“But in the second half they kept coming and kept coming and we didn’t match that intensity, which I wish we would have because I think we could have hung in there, and I think a few shots would have eventually fallen.”
Top to bottom, it was an offensive struggle. Emmanuel Bandoumel had one point and shot 0-of-8 from the field. Tyson Jolly was 2-of-7. The Mustangs were just 2-of-14 from 3, with both long-range shots coming in the first half from Davis. He actually led the team offensively with 11 points, indicative of how much of a futile effort it was team-wide.
When Davis, the Houston-native, nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key with the shot clock running down to make it a 10-9 Mustangs deficit, it seemed as though he might have broken out of his slump. It was his first made 3-pointer since last Saturday, three games ago.
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SOURCE: Dallas Morning News, Sam Blum