SMU's Doherty Sends A Message
Starter Banished To Locker Room As Mustangs Roll To 7-1
CUSA-fans.com has a new staff of team correspondents this year to help bring you, the fan, more detailed Conference USA sports coverage. Today, our SMU Correspondent Rick Atkinson brings you his weekly SMU basketball update.
DALLAS – The Mustangs learned something about playing for head coach Matt Doherty during Wednesday's 68-51 win over Prairie View A&M: disobeying instructions can get you an early shower.
Forward Derrick Roberts' night ended abruptly after he put up a three-point shot early in the second half without first passing the ball inside as Doherty had instructed. Roberts was promptly benched and Doherty let him hear it, up-close-and-personal – extended version.
Roberts appeared to respond verbally to Doherty and, as Ricky Nelson once said, ‘It was time to leave.' His status is unknown. Doherty said he planned to talk to Roberts later Wednesday night.
"That was a deal where you gotta follow instructions," Doherty said. "And then, when I get a response that is not appropriate, I need to take action."
"Derrick is a great kid. But, you know, in college basketball, the head coach gets to run the show. In pros, players get to have a little bit more say."
"I probably could have handled it a little differently myself," he added.
Rackauskas' big night
On the night, center Donatas Rackauskas led SMU with a career-high 21 points. Ike Ofoegbu collected 14 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 3 blocks. Guard Jon Killen had a game-high 7 assists.
The Mustangs out-rebounded smaller PV A&M, 45-15.
SMU led, 32-25, at the half after having difficulties adapting to the Panthers' changing defensive schemes.
"That really prevented us from getting in any sort of flow," Doherty said. "As a result, we settled for 3-point shots."
The Mustangs attempted 12 3s out of 29 first-half shots, making only two.
At halftime, Doherty directed the team to shoot 3s only after passing the ball inside first, to take advantage of SMU's size.
"A big emphasis all year will be going inside, especially against a smaller team," Doherty said.
Did Doherty notice a change in the team after the Roberts incident?
"No question," he said. "That's the bottom line."
SMU went on to stretch its lead to 19 points, shooting 63 percent in the second half. The Mustangs attempted only two more 3s.
Doherty praised 1-7 PV A&M's confidence and energy level. Ivory McGilvery and Andy Genao combined for 9-15 from 3-point range to lead the Panthers. McGilvery had a game-high 23 points.
Rackauskas said while happy with SMU's 7-1 record and 5-0 home-stand, the team has a lot of work to do.
"I don't think we're anywhere close to where we need to be," he said.
Against decidedly weaker opposition the last three games, including two NAIA teams, SMU has averaged 19 turnovers and failed to really blow anyone out.
Rackhauskas said he hoped the Mustangs' play up to the tougher competition ahead.
"Otherwise, we will have a long year," he said.
Doherty said Dean Smith, his former coach at North Carolina, has reminded him since he began coaching that Doherty didn't always play a perfect game.
"It was his way of saying, ‘Hey, [players] are gonna make mistakes,'" Doherty said.
But, he said, some mistakes are hard to accept. During a team huddle late in the game, Doherty said he called for zone defense.
"We go out, we play a man-to-man," he said. "That, you know, doesn't make sense to me. That is frustrating."
Doherty, though, said the Mustangs are "good kids" with "good attitudes."
"We'll continue to get better," he said.
Saturday, December 16 @ Centenary, 3 p.m.
Two after that
Thursday, December 21 @ TCU, 7 p.m.; Thursday, December 28 @ Oklahoma, 7 p.m
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