1. Nic Moore- SMU's loss to South Florida certainly wasn't Moore's fault. Moore tried his best to will the Mustangs to victory in the second half just like he did against Houston but came up short. Moore led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He also made four of his six three-point attempts. On a night where turnovers were a big problem, Moore also did a nice job of taking care of the ball, only turning it over twice. If SMU is going to survive its tough slate of games over the next month, Moore is going to have to continue to put up a lot of points.
2. Free Throw Shooting- SMU has shown incremental improvements at the free throw line. Tonight, the Mustangs shot 73.9 percent from the charity stripe, making 17-of-23 attempts. It was one of the best performances of the season for the Ponies. Nick Russell was a perfect 6-for-6 while Markus Kennedy, who shoots about 50 percent, was 7-for-10.
3. Ben Moore- Nic Moore wasn't the only bright spot for the Mustangs on Tuesday night. With Kennedy struggling, Ben Moore stepped up and had a nice night. Moore was 5-of-5 from the floor and finished with 11 points and four rebounds. Larry Brown has stated in the past that he thinks Moore is going to be special, and it's easy to see why. He has a great motor and plenty of athletic potential.
1. Controlling The Paint- SMU is used to outscoring its opponents down low. But tonight was a completely different story. South Florida flat out dominated down low and frustrated Kennedy and the other SMU bigs all night long. Victor Rudd finished with 21 points while Chris Perry finished with 18 points as the Bulls imposed their will. USF also out-rebounded SMU, 29-25. Markus Kennedy had his worst game of the year, scoring only four points from the floor and turning the ball over eight times. Kennedy struggled on both ends and looked defeated by the end of the game. Cannen Cunningham and Shawn Williams were no-shows for SMU.
2. Sloppy Play- USF dominating the paint was the primary reason SMU was upset tonight. But the Ponies just played sloppy basketball. They did it in the first half against Houston, and they did it again against USF-- this time it really cost them. SMU turned the ball over 16 times, looked lackadaisical on both ends of the floor and made dumb mistakes due to its mistakes. Heck, even Nic Moore picked up a technical foul. SMU needs to pick it up soon or they won't be dancing March. This was an ugly loss for its resume.
3. Sterling Brown- Brown broke into the starting lineup last month but hasn't been overly impressive in his new role, especially on the offensive end. Against USF, Brown was a ghost. The freshman finished with just one point, one rebound, one assist and four fouls. SMU needs more production from Brown or Larry Brown might start exploring other options.
3 Up, 3 Down
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