1. Rebounding – The Mustangs did a good job of rebounding the basketball even though their premier big man Yanick Moreira did not play in the game. Ben Moore, Markus Kennedy and Sterling Brown all grabbed seven rebounds or more and the team itself out-rebounded the Cardinals 48-35. On the offensive glass, the Mustangs did a great job of creating second and sometimes even third chance scoring opportunities.
2. Second Half Fight – The Mustangs showed plenty of grit and fight in the second period of the basketball game and actually outscored the cardinals 38-34. The Mustangs got clutch baskets from some of their veterans in Nick Russell and Shawn Williams and kept the game close. After making adjustments at half time, SMU came out playing much better basketball and cut the Cardinals' 12-point halftime lead all the way down to two with 14:52 left to play. But the Mustangs never ended up retaking the lead.
3. Bench Points – SMU's bench outscored the Louisville bench 24-8 this game. Louisville's lone bench scorer was Terry Rozier, who did hit two threes but that was just about it. For SMU, Ben Moore had nine points, Cannen Cunningham added eight and Ryan Manuel finished with seven. These baskets were critical for the Ponies without the usual production from Moreira and Nic Moore, who failed to finish anywhere close to his season average, notching just five points on 2-of-8 shooting from the field and 0-for-4 from three.
1. Turnovers – It was one of the biggest storylines of the game. Louisville, being one of the top teams in the country in steals and forcing turnovers, vs. SMU, who turns the ball over consistently. Unfortunately for SMU nothing changed today. The Cardinals took the ball away 10 times and forced SMU to commit 16 turnovers in the game. Russ Smith was a master at turning those turnovers into opportunities to score points and was a big reason why SMU could never get in front no matter how close they got. Larry Brown has to fix the Mustangs' turnover problems or it will be the flaw that eventually does them in.
2. Free Throws – SMU left way too many points on the board against a really good team. This was a very winnable game for SMU had they minimized their mistakes and capitalized on their opportunities but they failed to do so shooting just 52 percent from the line. SMU missed 12 on the game – they lost by eight.
3. Foul Trouble – Again fouls took some of SMU's most impactful players out of the game for extended periods of time. Markus Kennedy was a major reason why SMU was able to stay in the game making key contributions in the second half. But it was only a matter of time before he committed his fourth foul and was sent to the bench. Nic Moore, who is the unquestioned ball handler and facilitator for SMU, usually plays more minutes than anybody on the team but even he sat on the pine for eleven minutes this game and never found his rhythm. SMU allowed Louisville to get into the bonus far too soon, and it cost them big time.
3 Up, 3 Down
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