How it Happened
SMU fell behind 10-6 early in the game, but a Sterling Brown three-pointer sparked a 15-2 run for the Mustangs, who never relinquished momentum. They cruised on offense to the tune of 48 percent shooting and capitalized in transition. SMU generated the transition chances by forcing UConn into bad shots and getting three early steals. UConn failed to stop the ball in transition defense, which essentially guarantees open looks and points for the offense.
What it Means
SMU is now in first place by a full game after the win. Today’s game was another sign the Mustangs can be a dominant offensive team even when they face good defenses by scoring points in the paint. SMU’s presence and size in the post can help them against any defense, but especially ones that employ smaller lineups, like UConn and Tulsa.
Player of the Game
Yanick Moreira. UConn’s small lineup was no match for SMU’s frontcourt, but Moreira owned whoever matched up against him. He shot 4-of-6 from the field and scored 13 points. He also chipped in nine rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. His play helped get UConn center Amida Brimah into foul trouble and make him a non-factor with four points and two rebounds. SMU destroyed the UConn frontcourt without Brimah.
After poor free throw shooting against Houston, SMU was 18-of-23 from the line. The trio of Yanick Moreira, Markus Kennedy and Cannen Cunningham combined to go 11-of-14 at the line (Moreira, a 63 percent foul shooter, was 5-of-5), a trend that needs to continue with the Mustangs scoring so many points in the paint and subsequently drawing a lot of fouls.