Jalen Jones was tenacious from the start and played like he had something to prove all night. He went aggressively to the rim on the offensive side, had a few steals and was able to draw some fouls and go after rebounds. Jones has been a big time player for the Mustangs all season and had a complete game from the wing and around the rim. Jones led the team again in points with 20 and was a force on defense and turning that defense into offense by drawing fouls on the floor that got the Malone in foul trouble quickly.
SMU was around the ball all night. The players were playing aggressive on the defensive end with great help defense and plenty of forced turnovers from that and converted those turnovers into 19 points. The Mustangs' energy on defense had the crowd jumping and Moody rocking. While the attendance was not near what it was on the first night, the student section stuck around and fed off the energy by the defense. The Mustangs came out late in the second half and really got going with a bunch of steals and capitalized with 19 points off turnovers. The Mustangs worked well together as a team defensively and were able to get on top of Malone early and for the rest of the game with their defense.
Points In The Paint
The Mustangs were able to take over in the paint with 26 points in the first half alone and continued that trend in the second half to finish with 44 points in the paint- over half of their points. Jones was able to play more down low in the second half and contribute due to the Mustangs mixing in more of their small bench players. Jones was able to get points in the paint and pick up fouls while doing so. Jordan Dickerson even picked up his first points as a Mustang with four points on the night, four rebounds and two blocked shots. The Mustangs owned the paint against the smaller Pioneer players, but it was promising for a team with not much depth and height down low.
2nd Chance Scores
While SMU's aggressive play was great on both sides, the Mustangs did allow too many second chance points for the Pioneers to put back especially in the first half. The Pioneers grabbed nine offensive boards in the first half and allowed 11 second chance points. Malone got a lot of its second chances by shooting 19 three-point shots, while only connecting on seven. The Pioneers didn't have much else to do because the team was not going to get into the paint with the Mustangs size advantage. The Mustangs gave the Pioneers those chances by not hustling on the perimeter for loose balls and SMU did allow nine second chance points in the second half, something they will have to work on the next game.
Trying To Do Too Much
Against a team like Malone, when the Mustangs are winning easily, the team has to settle down a little bit. It seemed like in the second half the Mustangs tried to go for the big block or drive the lane when the team should have pulled the ball out and ran the offense. It wasn't an overwhelming amount of time that the team tried to do this, but it was enough for me to notice. There wasn't much to say that was negative about this game, but the Mustangs need to settle down a little bit and continue to build their chemistry on offense. The Mustangs only turned the ball over seven times, but it seemed like some shots were forced at some points in the second half. Nick Russell did a good job of settling things down and finished with eight assists when he could have shot the ball plenty of times.
2nd Half Fouls
In the first half, SMU did not send the Pioneers to the line once, but in the second the team was a little more out of control with its fouls and sent the Pioneers to the line for 11 shots. The Mustangs picked up some on the floor fouls in the first half, but in the second sent the Pioneers to the line more by trying to block some shots and not give in to easy layups. Jordan Dickerson did solidify the paint while he was in the game, but the Mustangs still fouled the Pioneers more in the second half with backups in, something the team has to avoid as it heads into future games. The Mustangs have played a few games in the last week and Coach Brown hinted to the team not playing as well due to the lack of practice, but the Mustangs will correct some of these mistakes in a workout today before they play Rider and then head to Mexico.
3 Up, 3 Down
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