1. Nic Moore’s LeadershipNic Moore stayed composed when SMU found itself down ten points, and carried the team on the second-half comeback. The unflappable guard put it upon himself to start taking the shots to get SMU back in the game. He picked up four fouls, but kept showing his killer instinct. He has become the unquestioned leader of SMU during the second half of the season, and the rest of the team feeds off him.
SMU started shooting a lot of jumpers and threes in the second half, but attacked the paint a lot, even against a strong defensive team in the paint. More importantly, SMU played with aggressiveness on defense and altered a lot of Temple’s shots in the paint. Cannen Cunningham had a knack for getting a hand on the ball or getting in the shooter’s face to disrupt his rhythm. The same can be said for Yanick Moreira and Markus Kennedy, who each had two blocks, as did Cunningham. SMU had nine total blocks.
The senior had just one made three-pointer on the season coming into today, but made two late in the second half. One of them tied the game after Temple briefly took a three-point lead. Manuel had struggled shooting jumpers in recent games, but his confidence to keep shooting, especially in crunch time, made a big difference and kept the team’s confidence high.
3. Ryan Manuel
1. Free ThrowsSMU has been Jekyll and Hyde on free throws all season, but today may have been the worst. The Mustangs were 2-9 from the charity stripe in the first half and wasted Temple’s continual fouling. SMU turned it around in the second half, making 18 of 24 after getting in the bonus with 13 minutes to go.
SMU had 11 turnovers, which isn’t awful, but a lot of them came at times that allowed Temple to stick around, especially in the second half. Nic Moore had six turnovers, although they weren’t as bad as his seven-turnover performance in the first Temple game.
A minus-two margin on the offensive glass isn’t bad, but SMU had several rebounds and 50/50 balls slip through its hands and allowed Temple to keep the ball and get second-chance points. Jaylen Bond had five offensive boards and outworked SMU’s taller frontcourt.
3. Offensive rebounding