SMU out rebounded LMU on both the offensive and defensive boards 38-31, but you could tell that grabbing offensive boards were stressed by the coaching staff as SMU grabbed 14 offensive rebounds compared to LMU's nine. The Mustangs were tenacious on the offensive glass and when the Mustangs got offensive boards, it usually ended up in a foul by LMU.
Jalen Jones led the way with 11 boards and said after the game it was nice to be able to get after the ball on the glass after not being able to do much rebounding last year. Jones really looked like a complete player out there and will be big for the Mustangs this year if he continues to give that type of effort.
Not only was the team playing more physical and with more energy, but Moody Madness was back. Moody had over 3,500 fans in the crowd and the students really showed up and provided a nice home court advantage that Larry Brown praised after the game. The team played with energy on defense and on offense with a more aggressive attack and the crowd definitely fed off of that.
SMU's new brand of basketball is exciting and the game atmosphere was truly electric. As SMU gets into its season and if the team continues to win, expect Moody to bring in even more people who are trying to see what all the hype is about with the Larry Brown era.
Even though a lot of the free throws at the end of the game were due to LMU having to foul a little more, SMU got to the line for the most part due to their aggressive play on the boards and getting the ball to the lane. LMU had a lot of fouls early in the second half that got them into foul trouble and the Mustangs were able to take advantage once LMU got into the bonus. SMU shot over 80 percent on free throws, which is a great sign that if the Mustangs can get to the line, that they will be able to convert when needed.
Ryan Manuel went 12 of 15 from the line, which was impressive even though he only shot 1 for 9 on the night. A lot of those shots were in the paint that drew fouls so it was impressive that Manuel could get to the line like that. Nick Russell also was 7-8 from the line.
You could tell depth could be an issue for the Mustangs this season especially now that Blaise Mbargorba's season is in question due to a shoulder injury. Coach Brown commented after the game saying that the team does not know exactly how much it will be able to run its schemes because of the lack of depth. The bigs could be an issue due to Cannen Cunningham and Shawn Williams being the only players that are truly ready to step up and perform down low.
Jordan Dickerson played just seven minutes and had a turnover, but had three rebounds. Dickerson offensively can be a liability and had two shots to convert a layup, but could not. If Dickerson can develop an offensive game that will be huge for the Mustangs depth wise because three players are sitting out due to transfer rules.
This goes back to depth, but the SMU bench did not contribute much at all. Besides London Giles, not one bench player scored so Coach Brown was forced to go with his starters for a majority of the game. Giles had 19 minutes off the bench, but the rest of the bench only had 18 combined minutes. Giles provided some great play with seven points, but also had two turnovers. The team is far from being completely settled in terms of their offensive and defensive philosophy and that will be something to watch as the season goes along. SMU had to go into some zone for a little while and altered their offensive game plan to give their starters some rest due to the lack of bench players contributing. SMU did a good job possessing the ball for almost the entire shot clock a few times, which will help, but the bench must step up to give SMU their best chance to win.
SMU did have a little difficulty with foul trouble early in the game abut somewhat cleaned it up. SMU's aggressive style could be a reason why, but the Mustangs sent LMU to the line 29 times and that was with SMU leading most of the way. On the other side, SMU went to the line 30 times with LMU fouling late in the game. Coach Brown mentioned in his postgame comments that this team cannot get into foul trouble especially with having so few players to play. If SMU can get their foul troubles under control, then the team can really control a game, but giving a team 29 free throws is not a way to do it. SMU got into the bonus early in the first half and sent LMU to the line a lot late in the game.
3 Up, 3 Down
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