Upon Further Review: Midwestern State

A new edition to Pony Stampede's game coverage is Demetrio's in-depth look the next morning at SMU's game from the day before. Here's his first "Upon Further Review" column from the Midwestern State win.

Wins aren’t supposed to feel like this. Usually the immediate hours following a win are adorned with feelings of splendor and eternal bliss.

This…this feels like a loss.

My coverage from Monday night’s 70-61 win over Midwestern State doesn’t adequately convey how ugly and unsatisfying it was nor does it describe the bitter taste it left in my mouth.

Sure, when Xavier Balckburn’s layup made it a three point game with 2:46 left to play, I did not drop my coffee in disbelief, but that does not mean the closing seconds were an emotional cake walk. No, my coffee cup remained securely in my grasp because my love for coffee far exceeds the jarring emotional trauma of a one score game against a Division II school with under three minutes to play.

“They’re just a good team,” SMU forward Markus Kennedy says. “D II doesn’t mean they don’t have good players; they have a lot of transfers from Division I schools and they are good.”

Breston McNeal and Blackburn played for North Dakota State Science in 2012-13. And all their athletics have been division I since 2004. So, that’s two there.

Trevor Fuller Played for the University of San Diego before coming to MSU. They are DI, so that’s three.

Three.

Three out of 16 players previously played for Division I programs.

The trio of Balckburn, Fuller, and McNeal combined for 24 points, 13 rebounds, four assists in 67 minutes.

Ladies and gentleman I present to you Nic Moore, who finished with 23 points, five rebounds, and four assists in 34 minutes.

You might say, “Well, they got more rebounds.”

And I would say, “True, but Nic Moore is one player and he is 5’9”.”

Sorry Kennedy, but your argument is invalid.

No matter which way you want to paint it, a nine point win over a Division II school is not going to feel good and it shouldn’t.

“You know they had two weeks off.”

What- who said that? Larry…coach Brown was that you?

Oh, come on! Not you too coach. Don’t you make excuses for them too.

“Because in Division II you have to have two weeks off,” Brown says. “[They practice at midnight and then bus down here.”

Well, it’s probably safe to assume that they weren’t practicing at midnight- that’d be pretty ridiculous.

“We were terrible.” Brown says. “Our finish was bad. Our start was bad. And our in between was bad. And I hate to say that because it takes something away from [MSU] and that’s not fair. We didn’t play like a team at all.”

You can always count on coach Brown being honest about his team’s performance – brutally so at times, but always honest.

SMU has had turnover issues all season long and Monday night was no different. The Mustangs had 10 first half turnovers and finished with 19. They actually finished with five more turnovers than assists.

I wrote briefly about SMU’s shot selection and how the team were picking their shots.

I would like to take this moment to apologize to our subscribers. Apparently, I was more punch drunk than I realized. SMU shot a miserable 38.3 percent from the field. They were fortunate, MSU shot an even worse 34.4 percent.

SMU had six more points in the paint than MSU, four more off of turnovers, nine more second chance points, eight more fast break points, but seven less bench points.

“I’d of much rather been sitting on their bench,” Brown says.

I’m with you coach.

With 31 seconds left in the game, Nic Moore attacked the basket and had his shot rejected by Fuller. In that moment it was a five point game. 31 seconds. Five point game. It doesn’t make sense.

A Larry Brown coached team with a five point lead over a D II school, with time running out, forces an ill-advised layup that gets blocked.

“I didn’t expect to see our team play like this,” Brown says. “We were fortunate to win that game.”

Let’s chalk it up to too much eggnog during the Holidays and pray that coach Brown can right this ship in time for conference play.

That’s Wednesday by the way. You know, just in case you were wondering.

What? Me, worried? Pffffffffttttt!

I’m not worried. What, do I look worried?

Well, I’m not.

All right, maybe a little.


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