How it Happened
The Mustangs opened it up in the second half thanks to a few thunderous dunks and some three big time three-pointers from none other than Ben Emelogu to defeat UCF 75-56 SMU got off to a good start in the first half feeding both Markus Kennedy and Yanick Moreira. Markus Kennedy came in early for SMU and dominated throughout the first half finishing with 6 points and 7 rebounds in the first half. He finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for the game. This good ball movement led to SMU shooting 60% in the first half. SMU continued to pound the ball inside in the second half and finished the game with 46 points in the paint. UCF was able to stick around in the first half and early in the second due to some good three-point shooting, but once the Mustangs were able to get out in transition, they pulled away from the Knights. Ryan Manuel provided a big boost throughout the game and finished with 20 points on the night.
What it Means
Although it was not easy early on, SMU was able to pull out another conference victory and improve to 9-1 and a half game back of Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference. SMU has got a tough road to finish the end of conference play, which meant getting this game was essential.
Player of the Game
Ryan Manuel: Manuel had a huge night for the Mustangs doing everything that was needed to get the win. Manuel finished with 20 points on the night, as well as having 4 assists and 4 more rebounds. Manuel also got the crowd going with a couple of big dunks in the second half to open it up for SMU.
Jonathan Wilfong entered the game in the first half and played one minute. Wilfong was spelling the regulars because of Sterling Brown’s two early fouls.
SMU has a big home game on Thursday against Cincinatti at 8 p.m central.