Points off Turnovers
The Mustangs were able to take advantage again off of turnovers again, scoring 18 points off of Cougar turnovers. Against Marshall, the team had 21 points off of turnovers. The Mustangs have been playing extremely well when they force turnovers, consistently scoring when the opportunity presented itself. Scoring 18 points off of 13 turnovers is not bad and something the Mustangs must continue to take advantage of when other teams turn the ball over. The one down side to this is that this tight defensive play takes the wind out of the players that are playing a lot of minutes.
Jalen had another big game for the Mustangs, scoring 21 points and adding eight rebounds. Jones has been the one to set the tone for the Mustangs throughout the season and if he is carrying the team and playing physically the Mustangs are a better team. Throughout the game, Jones had a couple of big-time dunks that set Moody off and kept the Mustangs energized, but like the rest of the team, he was quiet for a period of the second half. While he was held in check for some of the second half, Jalen's physical play and smart play (zero turnovers) helped the Mustangs have a chance for the win.
The Point Guards
Even though both Nick Russell and Ryan Manuel are not your prototypical point guards, the two played very well today. The pair combined for 37 points and 15 assists, one of their better performances on the season. Nick Russell hit a big three-point shot in overtime to get the Mustangs within one point with 20 seconds left in the game, but a turnover cost them a shot to win the game. Manuel added 15 points and worked well with Russell, sharing the basketball and taking the load off of him with his 10 assists. For the most part, the pair was on point tonight and that gives the Mustangs hope that the team can turn this around in the second half of C-USA play.
Cannen Cunningham had a tough assignment guarding TaShawn Thomas, but he performed admirably in that regard, holding Thomas to 15 points, just below his season average. Cunningham also held Thomas to just four rebounds, but offensively Cunningham was a ghost until the last minute of the second half when he made a three and two clutch free-throws. Offensively, being the only true option down low especially with Williams developing a nice perimeter game recently, Cunningham must be more assertive down low so the Mustangs don't have to rely on Jones, Russell, Manuel and Williams to carry the team scoring wise.
Lack of Bench Scoring
The Mustangs had zero points from its bench during the game. That is a scary statistic. Coach Brown after the game said you can see why our guys play so many minutes, and it is because the team cannot do anything with their bench players. Jordan Dickerson looks extremely awkward out there and after playing three minutes in the first half, was benched for the rest of the game. That has to take a lot out of Cannen Cunningham and could be a reason why he struggled tonight. Uche Ofoegbu struggled in his four minutes in the first half. The only player off the bench to play in the second half was London Giles, who logged seven minutes in the second half and two minutes in overtime. The team had to go small with Giles after Cannen Cunningham fouled out late in overtime and Giles turned it over, costing the Mustangs a shot for the win.
When SMU needed a defensive stop in the second half, the team just could not get it done. Whether it was an offensive rebound, a foul or just giving up a jumper, SMU found every way possible to for Houston to battle back from a 19-point deficit and get back into the game. It was rough down the stretch for the Mustangs especially with the team doing everything offensively to keep up with the Cougars. Lucky for the Mustangs, Shawn Williams came up huge with the game tying shot. In overtime though, the Mustangs still could not stop the Cougars and the Mustangs fell at home. The defense was a huge reason why and also the Cougars could shoot the lights out of Moody in the second half and overtime (going 100 percent), but still the Mustangs couldn't get anything done on defense.
- At the end of the game, SMU put a full-court press on the Cougars, as Ryan Manuel tried to steal the ball from Joseph Young, he missed the steal, allowing Young to get up the court before Shawn Williams fouled him. The lack of a foul by Manuel cost the Mustangs three seconds at the end of the game, but luck was on the Mustangs side when that shot from Williams fell.
- The Cougars were down 17 points at the half. Houston outscored SMU 53-26 in the second half.
- Mustangs had four players score 10+ points for the 10th time this season (Russell, Jones, Williams and Manuel).
- The attendance was a season high 3,886
- Jalen Jones went 8 of 13 on FGs and is shooting 56 percent in C-USA play
- Manuel had the first double-double with points and assists since Jeremiah Samarrippas last season
- Williams is shooting close to 60 percent from three-point range over the last six games.
Notable Brown Quotes
- "We get impatient. We forget how we got a lead and that's when you're dealing with two guards who have never played point guard before and they've come so far, they're getting so much better and we got them playing too many minutes and you can see when we put on our bench why we do that," Coach Brown said about how the game fell a part.
- "We are what we are. I'm proud of these kids. They're getting better and we got them playing a lot of minutes, but I told them we've got to go Monday at practice and man up and try to continue to get better. It's hard seeing their faces like that with disappointment," Brown said.
- "They better get us now because we've got a lot of paybacks."
Notable Manuel and Williams Quotes
- "Coach Brown, a couple weeks ago, said don't worry about the mistakes. He always calls me ‘Duncanville' to try and remind me to go back to high school I guess," Williams said.
- "You might be able to say that, but we can't have any excuses. The rotation has been the same since the beginning of the year so we should be used to it by now," Williams said about giving up 66 points after the first half.
- "I think we got any shot we wanted. There wasn't anything different from the Houston team we saw in Houston. Tough loss," Manuel said.
- "I just watched film with coach Brown a lot. He always wants to watch film with me. We watched the Marshall film and he just wants to teach me the point guard position. I'm not a natural point guard, but I think I can play it. The past couple of games I haven't had as many assists as I wanted. I'm just trying to study the game as best as I can," Manuel said of his 10-1 assist to turnover ratio.
3 Up, 3 Down
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