Last Saturday Dean Smith passed away. Smith was a mentor of Larry Browns and a huge part of his life.
Brown borrowed one of Smith’s favorite sayings and added to it: Play hard, play smart, play together, have fun- and it’d be nice if we defended and rebounded.
In the Mustangs first game since their head coach lost a dear friend, they embodied his most essential coaching mantras.
I’ve said for a while, Houston is a tough team and if you aren’t careful they might beat you. They almost did.
But SMU played hard and finished the game. They played together and shared the ball- leading to almost everyone finishing in double digits or within striking distance. Because they all scored a little, they all had fun…except maybe Ben Emelogu.
SMU tied Houston with 35 turnovers but created seven steal to Houston’s zero. The Mustangs forced a total of 13 turnovers while only giving it up six times. I’d say they defended and rebounded too.
My favorite stats though: 42 points in the paint and 15 points off of turnovers.
What that tells me: this team is defending well and taking/creating high percentage shots.
Billy got it absolutely right when he said Manuel set the tone of the offense by driving to the basket. Really I think that is the biggest thing he has been bringing to this team all season- well that and his defensive efforts.
We keep talking about it and for good reason. The emergence of Manuel this season has transformed the dynamic of the team.
We could get into it again and re hash what we already know he brings to the table- but I’ll save all of us some time and sum it up in one simple phrase: dude can ball.
Now we did see Moore struggle to score a bit in the first half, but I wonder if it isn’t that he is struggling so much as he is trying to involve everybody early. He did finish with 15 points If we get similar team results like this because he defers to his teammates on offense- I’ll take that all day.
The bottom line as we move towards Saturday is that we are one win away from asserting ourselves on top of the conference. And this won’t be an easy game-I bet UCONN wants to hit back after being swept last season.
I just hope you all can make it to the game given that it is Valentine’s Day. I’ll be saying a prayer for you all, that you don’t get dragged into seeing 50 Shades of bull manure rather than SMU curb stomping UCONN.
That’s right, I said curb stomp.