How it Happened
It took a while for SMU to get going, especially their star Nic Moore, but the Mustangs were able to use a late run to sneak by Temple 60-55. Up 3 with just over 40 seconds to go, Sterling Brown was able to get a big offensive rebound and throw it to Markus Kennedy for a thunderous dunk that gave SMU the breathing room they needed. The SMU Mustangs once again struggled with turnovers in the first half against Temple, however, where they finished with 11, including four in the last 5:48 of the half. At that point SMU was up 24-23 before Temple finished the half on a 10-2 run to take a 33-26 lead at the half. Temple came out on fire in the first half shooting 45.8% that included 6 threes. SMU came out slow in the second half falling behind by as much as 11 before head coach Larry Brown went to Markus Kennedy who provided a huge lift off the bench including grabbing a couple boards and a big and-one to get the Mustangs going. The Mustangs continued to chip away in the second half thanks to big buckets by Yanick Moreira and Markus Kennedy before making their last run to scratch out a win. In that last run, the Mustangs turned to Nic Moore who was able to finally find his jump shot that had been missing all game long.
What it Means
What a huge win for the Mustangs to get. Not saying it was pretty but this was a gutsy win for the Mustangs. For the first time possibly in the past two years, this team faced tremendous adversity on the road and was able to scratch and claw their way back to get a resume-building win on the road.
Player of the Game
Markus Kennedy: SMU would have had no chance in this game if it wasn’t for the play of their big man. Kennedy finished the game with 21 points. It was his tremendous energy that also helped get this group going when things were looking bleak down 11 early in the second half. Kennedy was hitting shots from everywhere on the court and even had a couple drives from the three point line in for the layup.
In a game where limiting turnovers was a key for the Mustangs, SMU finished the first half with more turnovers, 11, than made field goals, 10. Six of these turnovers came from Nic Moore in what was a rough first half for him.
SMU will return home after this two game road trip for a matchup against East Carolina Saturday at 3 p.m CT