In the first game of the 2018 American Athletic Conference Championship, No. 9 SMU (17-15) defeated No. 8 UConn (14-18) 80-73.
The Mustangs were led by senior guard Ben Emelogu’s 23 points and senior forward Akoy Agau’s 21. Sophomore guard Christian Vital led the Huskies with 24 while senior guard Antoine Anderson had 19.
SMU head coach Tim Jankovich said he was not only happy with the win, but he was particularly happy to see Emelogu and Agau play so well. He said the two players have been going through several off the court issues.
“I swore I would challenge anyone, ever, to find me a couple guys who have been through more amazingly difficult adversity in their careers than [Emelogu and Agau],” he said.
The loss capped a disappointing season for UConn as they’ll miss the NCAA tournament for the second season in a row. It has led to speculation about Ollie’s job security. After the game, Ollie said he expected to return as coach next season, but he also said he needed to evaluate everything he did as a coach.
“I’m gonna assess everything I’ve done as a coach and see how I can get better,” Ollie said.
“I can’t name out a list, but we don’t want to be here,” he continued. “We don’t want to be 14-18.”
With the win, SMU will move on to face No. 1 Cincinnati on Friday. UConn’s season is over.
NOTE: Agau twisted his ankle late in the game. He said he’ll ice it up and be good to go on Friday vs. Cincinnati.