1. Defense- All you really need to know about SMU's defense is that they did not allow the Pride to score their tenth basket until midway through the second half. Larry Brown has his players playing terrific team defense. The Mustangs dove for loose balls, contested every shot and on a night where Hofstra was looking to shoot the three-point ball, SMU played very solid perimeter defense and held Hofstra to 10-of-29 from three-point land. The Mustangs also allowed just six points in the paint. If SMU is going to make it to the tournament, it will because of their defense.
2. Rebounding- The Mustangs once again out-rebounded their opponents in a big way, pounding the Pride on the boards, 43-27. Markus Kennedy led the way for the Mustangs with 12 rebounds, three of those being offensive rebounds. Ben Moore had five rebounds and Shawn Williams added six of his own. SMU's dominance on the boards limits its opponent's second chance points, and with SMU's smothering defense, teams find themselves scrambling to put points on the board.
3. Selfless Play- The Mustangs have played pass-first basketball all season long, but it was especially prevalent in tonight's game where SMU had four players in double figures and a total of seven players had at least seven points. SMU's leading scorer was Cannen Cunningham, who provided a huge spark off the bench with his 14 points in 19 minutes of play. SMU's three alley-oops also shows that the Mustangs are always looking for the open man, which is every coaches dream.
1. Free Throw Shooting - The Mustangs are improving, but SMU still shot just 15-24 from the charity stripe. While in a game like this free-throw shooting was not as important, there will be close games where SMU needs to make clutch free throws so an improvement is definitely needed. Players have said that they work constantly at their free throws during practice, so lets hope things can get turned around quickly.
2. Turnovers- On a night where it was hard to find very many negatives about SMU's play, the Mustangs 13 turnovers were cause for some concern. Hofstra was not able to capitalize on the Mustangs' mistakes and only scored three points off of the turnovers. Against a better team that capitalizes on mistakes well, SMU cannot afford to give the ball up like they did tonight.
3. Getting Blocked- SMU big man Cannen Cunningham had a solid game off the bench in terms of his points and production, but he get blocked three times, which is a little concerning considering he and the rest of SMU's big men were much bigger than Hofstra. Cunningham got a little lazy and brought the ball down low, which gave Hofstra players a free look at the ball. Cunningham and the rest of SMU's big men should be able to easily work on this in practice.
3 Up, 3 Down
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