Points in Paint
Even though the Mustangs were out-sized and the Tigers had the advantage in strength, SMU scored 26 points in the paint and held Memphis to just 12 points in the paint. The problem with that is that it left Memphis open for three-point shots that they converted, shooting 35 percent from three-point range in the game. Cannen Cunningham had a better night offensively with six points and seven rebounds, but it was Nick Russell who was pushing the pace in the paint with his drives to the basket and layups. The Mustangs did a nice job going to the basket as a team tonight and were rewarded with 16 points in the paint in the second half.
2nd Chance Points
The Mustangs were able to get plenty of offensive boards and turn them into points, scoring 15 second chance points in the game. Jalen Jones led the way with seven offensive boards and played physical down low trying to get the ball and put it back for points. Jones had a double-double again with 15 rebounds and 13 points on the night. The second chance points kept the Mustangs in the game and helped the team crawl out of a big deficit. Jones has been the best player for the Mustangs all season and the team will need big games and big plays from him the rest of the season if they would like to make a run in the C-USA tournament.
SMU did not play an overall great game, but the crowd was into it the entire game. Chants were constant, the Memphis players were tormented and it was loud. Another attendance high for the season was set, with 5.170 people. There weren't many positives from tonight's game. The team was all over the place on offense, but the crowd was urging the Mustangs to stick around even after getting down by 12 early in the second half. The energy in Moody was there and helped the SMU team get some energy as well to come back, even with a shot bench again that only played a combined five minutes in the second half.
SMU was pretty terrible shooting the ball tonight, making just one three-pointer and shooting 31 percent from the field in the game. In the first half, the Mustangs struggled from the field, shooting 23 percent, but in the second half the team picked it up a little bit. The Mustangs did not take high-percentage shots and did not shoot well from the elbow and it cost them even though the team put up 26 points in the paint. Nick Russell took 24 shots tonight, a career high and only about half of them were quality shots. The Memphis defense did a good job limiting SMU's shots, but the offense just was not jelling tonight.
The Mustangs had trouble getting into foul trouble especially in the second half. The Mustangs allowed Memphis to press them in the paint and get to the line. SMU's 22 fouls were a little skewed due to three or four late game fouls, but the Mustangs did not do a good enough job at defending the Tigers well enough to keep them away from the line. Both teams were in the bonus for about the final eight minutes of the game, but the Mustangs kept picking up fouls, sending the Tigers to the line and eventually the Mustangs' offense could not keep up with Memphis' free throws.
Fast Break Offense
The Mustangs got a good amount of fast break opportunities but only scored four fast break point against Memphis. SMU can usually convert well on two-on-ones, but struggled versus Memphis. The team threw the ball away multiple times on bad passes and ended up not getting the good shots and layups that SMU usually does on the fast break. That ended up being the difference in the game. Ryan Manuel lost the handle on a few of those opportunities, allowing Memphis to get the ball back after their own turnovers. If the Mustangs are going to turn around some of their offensive woes, the team will have to do better converting on the fast break.
-Prime Prep five-star point guard Emmanuel Mudiay was in attendance tonight to take in the game against SMU. Students were constantly chanting his name and trying to make a good impression with the Moody atmosphere and they succeeded. After the game, Mudiay and the other Prime Prep players were brought down near the SMU locker room and chatted with the SMU coaches and Larry Brown for a few minutes after the game.
-Jalen Jones had his seventh double-double on the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
-The Mustangs' nine blocks were second in team history in a C-USA contest.
-In the second half, Jones was going in for a dunk on a two-on-one play, but Shaq Goodwin came out of nowhere and annihilated Jones and rubbed it in to the Moody crowd with the Cam Newton Superman celebration. The crowd went nuts and Goodwin was assessed a flagrant two foul and he was ejected from the game.
3 Up, 3 Down
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