Jalen Jones has been a huge leader for the Mustangs and despite his technical foul late in the game, he was feeling it on Wednesday night. Jones was absolutely relentless on the boards. SMU had 13 offensive rebounds and eight were from Jones, who finished with eight more defensive boards. Jones finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds and played all but one minute of the game. With Jones' ability to put the team on his back, it has opposing teams focusing on him and leaving other players available to step up and score.
Forcing Turnovers & Capitalizing
SMU was tenacious with their effort against Utah as the team was able to force 15 turnovers. Utah could not really get into a groove the entire night and even when Utah started to close in on the Mustangs' lead after halftime, SMU turned it on to continue its opportunistic ways with 17 points off of turnovers. SMU was able to also stop all hope Utah had to win with the turnovers they forced and that will be key to SMU controlling the tempo later on in the year.
Points In The Paint
SMU was able to dominate in the paint even with the team shooting just 29 percent from within the arc. SMU outrebounded Utah on the offensive boards and that led to SMU putting up 24 points in the paint compared to Utah's 14 points in the paint. While Cannen Cunningham and Shawn Williams had trouble with their shooting percentage, the two had four offensive rebounds to go with Jones' eight. Jones was able to get into the paint and be aggressive on the boards like he has been all year.
SMU has had trouble getting on loose balls, and it caused problems on the defensive boards for SMU. Whether it is an unlucky bounce or just not getting to the ball in time, SMU has to get those loose balls like their life depended on it. Giving teams chances at another shot is not what coach Larry Brown would like to see. SMU's team has plenty of hustle, but the execution of pulling down rebounds sometimes gives Mustangs fans fits, but that is a part of the game most of the time.
Lack of Depth
SMU's starters played around 178 of 200 minutes in the game and while the team performed well, you could tell they were tired at some points from pushing so hard. SMU has to find a way to get the bench more involved even with the lack of depth. London Giles did play some of his best basketball according to Coach Brown after the game. Jordan Dickerson is becoming more physical, but he is far away from being ready for serious playing time.
SMU struggled early and often in the second half and coach Brown had to see that could be an issue in future games especially with the lack of depth. SMU just tried to push too much and try for the perfect play instead of doing what they had been doing. Nick Russell and Ryan Manuel pushed for shots a little too hard. As a whole, SMU shot a lowly 24 percent in the second half. Russell had four turnovers in the second half while the team totaled eight. If SMU is going to expect to be competitive, it will have to limit teams' ability to get back into the game right at the start of the second half.
3 Up, 3 Down
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