1. Markus Kennedy/Keith Frazier- Both bench players came in and made a big impact. Frazier knocked down a pair of threes in the first half, which really sparked the Mustangs. Frazier finished the game with eight points before going down with an ankle injury in the second half. Kennedy, however, was the biggest difference maker, doing most of his damage in the second half. He did a nice job on the block offensively and was the leading scorer with 17 points. Larry Brown said after the game that Kennedy ‘was a big part of the great second half rebounding' and was proud of his effort. Kennedy added that he's finally coming into form and expects to be where Brown wants him to be soon. Kennedy and Frazier -- if healthy -- will likely have bigger roles once conference play begins.
2. Ryan Manuel- Manuel isn't a sharpshooter by any means. But he is extremely athletic and hustles at all times. Manual did a good job slashing to the basket and converting on transition layups. He also caused plenty of problems for UTPA on the defensive end. The highlight of the night was a thunderous dunk early in the second half that gave SMU a 12-point lead and forced UTPA to call a timeout soon after. Manuel was the second leading scorer with 14 points. He still plays a little erratic and didn't shoot free throws well, but overall it was an impressive performance.
3. 3-Point Shooting- Larry Brown said earlier this season that he wasn't too concerned about SMU's struggles from beyond the arc. If the Mustangs, shoot the way they did tonight in the first half, he has a point. Nic Moore and Keith Frazier both knocked in a pair of 3-pointers while Manuel, Nick Russell and Sterling Brown knocked in one a piece. Overall, the Mustangs shot 46.7 percent from 3-point land. In the first half, SMU shot 75 percent from three.
1. Nick Russell's Shooting- Russell did score six points, grab eight rebounds and dish out nine assists. There is no doubt that's a solid stat line. But he was terrible from the floor, going just 2-for-9. Russell needs to really work on his jumper as the Mustangs head into conference play. If he can establish himself as an offensive weapon, the Mustangs can be that much more dangerous. Larry Brown said Russell had great shot selection but just couldn't knock anything down.
2. Free Throws- When playing tougher competition, the Mustangs also need to make sure they convert on opportunities at the charity stripe. There were a couple of great and-1 plays from Manuel and Yanick Moreira that didn't result in three points because they couldn't make their free throw. Overall, SMU shot just 46.9 percent from the line. Moreira was just 2-for-7 while Manuel was 3-for-7. Larry Brown joked that he needs to get angry at the free-throw shooting coach but said he's not too concerned about the Mustangs making their free thrown moving forward. Tonight, he explained, was just a case of contagious misses.
3. Key Injury- Just when the Mustangs began to pull away, they suffered a key loss in the form of freshman Keith Frazier. As mentioned above, Frazier went down with an ankle injury and it did not look good. Frazier was carrier off the floor and eventually limped back to the locker room. It is unclear how long Frazier will be out, but the Mustangs could really use him over the next four games against Wyoming, Cincinnati, UConn and Louisville. Larry Brown said Frazier told him he was okay after the game and said they ‘certainly' need him back.
3 Up, 3 Down
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