3 Up, 3 Down

We share three positives from SMU's win and three negatives!

Up

1. Second Half- It was like night and day for SMU against Houston. The Mustangs played horrible in the first half, but Larry Brown rallied the troops at halftime, made some adjustments and the team came out strong in the second half. Nic Moore finally got things going offensively, going 7-of-9 from the floor and finished with 28 points. SMU came out with the energy they were lacking in the first half and used it to pull out a tough 75-68 win on the road. Most importantly, SMU didn't turn the ball over in the second half. Larry Brown must be proud of his team for overcoming adversity, which they will surely need to do over the final stretch of the season.

2. Markus Kennedy- Going in, everybody knew Kennedy was going to have a tough matchup against Houston big man TaShawn Thomas. But Kennedy rose to the occasion and finished with a double-double-- 15 points and 10 rebounds. Kennedy has established himself as one of the top big men in the conference and will likely remain in the starting lineup even when Yanick Moreira returns. Both should start and be fun to watch.

3. Free Throws- It's no secret that SMU is not a very good free throw shooting team. But SMU shot 84.4 percent from the line and made plenty of clutch free throws late in the second half. Nic Moore was 11-of-12 while Nick Russell was 4-of-4. Even Kennedy and Ben Moore, who are tow of the worst free throw shooters on the team, had nice days from the charity stripe. SMU is going to need to keep shooting like this from the line in tight games.

Down

1. First Half- The first half was the worst half of basketball SMU has played all year. The Mustangs let Houston make wide-open threes, get inside for easy lay-ups and take a 31-25 lead into halftime. The Mustangs just started off horrible with four turnovers in four minutes and got in foul trouble early. Not only that, Nic Moore was terrible, going 1of-9 from the floor, and Keith Frazier was lost for the game with an ankle injury. Larry Brown surely does not want to see another half like that the rest of the year.

2. Perimeter Defense- Louisville lit up SMU from three-point land earlier this season, and the Mustangs again struggled defending Houston's outside shooting. As mentioned, the Cougars knocked down quite a few wide-open threes in the first half. And they didn't really cool off in the second half as SMU failed to really ‘get up in their grill' and challenge their outside shooters. Daniel House made 4-of-7 three-pointers and as a team, Houston shot close to 45 percent.

3. Three-Pointers- SMU still lacks pure shooters, which is why it struggles with three-point shooting often. Today, the Mustangs were terrible from behind the three-point line, going 2-of-10 for 20 percent shooting. Nic Moore was the biggest culprit, missing six shots from long range. Nick Russell and Shawn Williams also missed their attempts.

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