1. Bench- The Mustangs bench players made key contributions today especially in the first half. Without Markus Kennedy the Mustangs were still able to enter halftime with a 14-point lead. Cannen Cunningham's production when Kennedy left the game was essential. Cunningham went 4-for-5 for 11 points and three rebounds in the first 20 minutes of the matchup. Ben Moore and Crandall Head also made big contributions. Moore was pivotal on both ends of the floor from his passing, to his ability to finish at the basket, to his fighting for every rebound. SMU's bench accounted for 35 of the team's total points. Cincinnati's bench scored eight.
Defense- This was a truly inspiring defensive performance by SMU. Justin Jackson was completely irrelevant. The Mustangs interior fought hard on every single possession. They attacked the basket for rebounds and were fearless against the Cincinnati big men. Sean Kilpatrick made some big shots for the Bearcats but even he shot 27 percent from the field. SMU caused 19 turnovers from which they earned 24 points and 11 fast break points.
Backcourt- Nic Moore and Nick Russell both had excellent games, combining for 29 points. They were the undoubted leaders and motors of the team and were clutch when SMU needed them most. Sterling Brown was an incredible competitor in all facets and led the team in rebounds. Keith Frazier had a strong layup after getting away from two defenders and did not turn the ball over once. Defensively the guards competed at a high level and caused many of the Cincinnati turnovers.
1. Markus Kennedy– SMU's leading big man didn't have a bad game, but he was not near as productive as he has been in past weeks. Kennedy got into foul trouble early, which prohibited him from getting into his rhythm. On the bright side, he did do a good job on defense. When Kennedy was in the game, Justin Jackson was nowhere to be found. He also led the team in assists. The sophomore certainly doesn't mind taking the back seat as long as the Mustangs are winning but he has the capability of being a double digit scorer every night. It seems that just about the only thing that can stop him from doing that is foul trouble. He has to keep that in mind going forward.
2. Turnovers– The Mustangs had 16 turnovers tonight against a good Cincinnati defense. Once the Bearcats increased the pressure, SMU struggled to be as efficient as they were prior. Even though the Mustangs found a way to break it eventually, many times they were saved by lucky bounces, fouls and Ben Moore. The biggest problem with the Mustang's turnovers was that half of them came from their top two players in Kennedy and Nic Moore. When SMU plays quality opponents down the road, turnovers will turn into points. It would serve them well to practice their offense against the press even more.
3. Moreira Still Hurt- It's quite obvious. Moreira stepped on the court for all of a minute before rejoining the coaches on the bench. He did not look ready to compete at 100 percent. Luckily for the Mustangs, their depth is so solid that they haven't needed him, but the more games the Mustangs play without Moreira, the more they get used to him not being in the game plan. Chemistry is being developed with every win. It will be interesting to see if Moreira will be able to fit right in or if he will cause discordance.
3 Up, 3 Down
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