How it happened: It was another physical, grind-it-out game for SMU, which was playing its fourth game in three days. But the Mustangs got it done on the defensive side of the floor, holding Rutgers to 32.7 percent from the floor, and came away with a 70-56 victory. In the first half, Rutgers shot 25.9 percent from the floor and was clearly frustrated by SMU's tight defense. With Nic Moore not doing much, the Mustangs relied heavily on Markus Kennedy, who punished Rutgers bug man Wally Judge in the paint. Kennedy helped give SMU a 36-25 lead at halftime. In the second half Rutgers cut SMU's lead down to eight, but Kennedy, Ben Moore and Keith Frazier helped the Mustangs pull away with some key plays. Kennedy led SMU with 18 points and 10 rebounds while Ben Moore chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds.
What it means: SMU could not afford to lose to an 8-11 Rutgers team as it continues to build up its NCAA tournament resume. This win won't turn any heads, but it was one SMU had to have. The most impressive thing about the win was how little fatigue was shown. SMU proved that it's built for a lot of games in not a lot of time, which should bode well in the postseason. The Mustangs have now won four in a row.
Side Note: It will be interesting to see if Larry Brown continues to tinker with the starting line-up. Shawn Williams had another disappointing night offensively, scoring just three points. Freshman Sterling Brown once again started but had just two points.
Next: SMU will travel to Houston on Sunday in a pivotal road game. The Cougars are also coming off a win over Rutgers but will face Memphis on Thursday.
Rapid Reaction: SMU Pounds Rutgers
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