The junior had half of SMU's points in the first half and got hot from beyond the arc. Even though Williams struggled a bit in the second half, only scoring three points, he was SMU's best player out there in the first half and helped SMU build a monster lead. Williams had been quiet recently and went off for the first time this season. Williams only had one turnover when the rest of the team was struggling to hold onto the ball. All of Williams rebounds were on the offensive boards so he will have to pick it up on the defensive boards with a few slipping through his fingers, but otherwise Williams was pretty solid especially early on.
SMU grabbed 11 offensive boards in the first half and Jalen Jones was a big reason why. He really was tenacious on the offensive boards and had his sixth double-double on the season. Jones had 20 points and also had five assists to add to his 12 rebounds. Even though Jones is playing out of position, he has been dominant and once he is moved back to being a true guard, he will flourish next season.
SMU played very solid defensively outside of rebounding, especially in the first half, but SMU really played selfless with the team taking several charges throughout the game. SMU also had most of USM with four fouls for a majority of the second half. That type of tenaciousness on the boards and driving the lane by the guards helped SMU get into the bonus quickly in the second half to try and claw its way out of a ten point deficit about halfway through the second half.
It's not often that offensive rebounds outnumber the defensive rebounds, but Southern Miss did just that. The Golden Eagles grabbed 14 offensive boards compared to 13 defensive reounds. The Mustangs were letting balls slip through their fingers, be batted back to guards and even losing some defensive boards out of bounds, turning the ball over back to USM. The Mustangs don't have much size underneath the rim in Cannen Cunningham and Jones, but the team has to use better fundamentals to get the defensive rebounds the Mustangs need.
SMU had 11 turnovers in the first half alone and didn't improve too much in the second half, especially early and that allowed Southern Miss to grab the lead by as much as 10 and control the momentum for a majority of the second half. The Mustangs cannot continue to turn the ball over like the team did tonight, with 17 turnovers overall. The team was almost lazy at times with their passing, including having an inbounds pass stolen that was a huge turning point in the game when Southern Miss scored five points in less than five seconds. Turnovers were the difference early in the second half and ultimately were the difference in the game.
Energy To Start The Second Half
When Moody had a pretty good crowd, especially with not all of the students back in town on a weeknight, SMU started strong, but blew a big lead and came out flat in the second half. The Mustangs got down by 10 almost instantly it seemed and were forcing shots, passes and just not playing as well as they had as a unit for most of the first half. The Mustangs did press towards the end of the game, feeding off of the crowd but because of their flat start to the second, the team just couldn't recover.
3 Up, 3 Down
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