Billy has your rapid reaction to SMU's loss to UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
How it Happened
SMU and UCLA made a point of trading baskets early on in the contest with Bryce Alford and Nic Moore dueling from three-point range. Markus Kennedy came in for Yanick Moreira early and got going with a couple buckets as well. It was like a heavy weight battle with the teams trading baskets and each making plays on the offensive boards to keep possessions alive. SMU turned the ball over more than the team would like and got into foul trouble, specifically Sterling Brown.
UCLA held SMU without a basket for the first seven minutes or so of the half while building a 10-point lead in the process. Both teams missed shots early, but UCLA caught a little fire eventually. SMU responded with a run of their own to close the gap to 44-43 at the under-8 timeout. SMU then put the pedal down and went on a huge run to build a 51-44 lead at the 5:21 mark. Norman Powell ended the 19-0 run with his layup and Bryce Alford made some key threes. SMU couldn’t finish the rest of the game, turning the ball over and missing two potential baskets for the win.
What it Means
SMU ends their season after making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1993. SMU finishes the season 27-7 and as AAC regular season and tournament champions.
Player of the Game
Nic Moore/Markus Kennedy:
Shoot me over having two players of the game. It’s true though! The big man struggled to consistently score for SMU, but he was the only legitimate post threat for SMU. Nic Moore single handedly almost led SMU back for the win, but did miss two game-winning shots.
SMU was up two points with 30 seconds left and Cannen Cunningham miscommunicated with Ryan Manuel and threw it right to a UCLA defender. That ultimately was one of the reasons SMU lost.
SMU begins their offseason after yet another historic season under Larry Brown. SMU has their signing class wrapped up except for Simeon Carter or a potential transfer out there on the market with NCAA allegations looming as well.
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