1. Nic Moore- The talented point guard was the best player on the floor today for either team. He finished with 20 points, six assists and three rebounds on five for nine shooting. Moore was three for four from three-point range and only turned the ball over three times today. He, along with Ryan Manuel and Nick Russell, also did a terrific job guarding UConn star Shabazz Napier. Moore fouled out late in the fourth, but played with terrific energy on both ends all night. Napier, who is known as one of the best guards in the country, had just 12 points on nine shots and seemed frustrated for most of the night.
2. Defense- The entire SMU team did a good job defending the Huskies today. UConn was only able to shoot 37 percent from the field and 31 percent from three. With help from the referees, the Huskies did a lot of their damage at the free throw line as they made 24-of-30 attempts. The Mustangs also caused 11 UConn turnovers and dominated the Huskies on the glass all game. As a team, SMU outrebounded UConn 37 to 29. Markus Kennedy led the way with eight and Nick Russell added seven boards as well. The Mustangs were especially dominant on the offensive glass and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds that resulted in 16 second-chance points.
3. Three-Point Shooting- SMU caught fire from behind the three-point line in the game today. Nic Moore hit three of them, but even Nick Russell, who had been struggling shooting recently, made two today. He helped secure the victory with a couple of big jumpers down the stretch. As a team, the Mustangs shot 7-for-16 from beyond the arc for 44 percent shooting. Meanwhile, UConn was only able to make five three-point attempts and shot just 31 percent from behind the line. This big advantage shooting was a key for the Mustangs pulling off the upset.
1. Shawn Williams- Once again, Williams got the start and once again he struggled. The senior finished with four points and zero rebounds while going 2-for-3 from the field and 0-for-1 from three. For the game, Williams ended up playing 25 minutes while guys like Yanick Moreira, Ben Moore and Cannen Cunningham all played less. Markus Kennedy also logged 25 minutes, but he was one of the best players on the floor for SMU. If Moreira, Moore and Cunningham continue to play well, Larry Brown will have to consider limiting Williams' minutes against other AAC opponents.
2. Free Throw Shooting- The Mustangs had been a poor free throw shooting team all season, and it continued today. The team finished just 17-of-26 from behind the charity stripe. Big men Ben Moore and Markus Kennedy especially struggled, shooting a combined 5-for-11. It especially hurt that UConn was able to shoot 80 percent from the free throw line and hit seven more attempts than SMU. The Mustangs were able to pick up the victory in this one, but they have to continue to improve their performance from the line as the season goes along or it may come back to hurt them in a close game.
3. Turnovers: Although they won the game 74-65, SMU turned the ball over a lot again today against UConn. In total, the Mustangs finished with 11 turnovers and the Huskies were able to score 15 points off those turnovers. Nick Russell and Nic Moore had three each and multiple other players had at least one in the game. UConn didn't do a great job with turnovers either. They also had 11 and SMU was able to score 14 points off them. Still, Larry Brown has said playing good defense and not turning the ball over will be keys for SMU this season. The team is incredibly young, but the Mustangs should start to settle down as the season continues and turn the ball over less.
3 Up, 3 Down
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