3 Up, 3 Down: SMU vs. UCLA

Billy has your 3 Up, 3 Down from SMU's loss to UCLA.

3 Up

1. Markus Kennedy

Kennedy was matched up against his beefy UCLA counterpart, Tony Parker, and faired well, holding him to three points and two rebounds. Kennedy himself came in to the game early off the bench for Yanick Moreira and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Kennedy had some energy plays for SMU, but it wasn’t enough.

2. Working the Offensive Glass

SMU earned some of their second chance opportunities by working the glass with even Nic Moore grabbing a board down low and drawing the foul. SMU had the matchup advantage down low with Kevon Looney and Tony Parker picking up two fouls in the first half. SMU had to earn every point it got. That started on the offensive glass. Markus Kennedy played physical at times down low in the first half, but in the second half SMU was much more physical in the paint, finishing with 10 offensive boards.

3. The comeback

It was a comeback, just not a comeback win. Nic Moore led the way for the team, having 13 of his 24 points in the second half. Moore lit up the Bruins from beyond the arc, going 6-11 from three-point land, but went just 7-18 from the field. Sterling Brown had some steals, SMU forced turnovers and the Bruins looked like they were about to spiral out of control. Except the Bruins did what SMU had done all year, stuck to their guns, ran their offense and relied on their point guard to lead the way to victory.

3 Down

1. Fighting Through Screens

SMU has stressed it all year how this team has to do a better job of calling out screens and taking better routes to avoid them. That didn’t happen in the first half and allowed UCLA to build a four-point halftime lead because of it. UCLA was able to get Bryce Alford open, plus allowed Norman Powell to drive and get to the rum, where he went 9-for-9 from the line. SMU was chasing Alford and Powell all night.

2. Defending Bryce Alford

Bryce Alford single handedly beat SMU it seemed from beyond the arc. Alford had 27 points, all on three-point shots. James Woodard almost got SMU a few weeks back, but SMU’s three-point defense let Alford heat up late and claw UCLA back into the game. Count his last shot, don’t count it, but Alford was the reason UCLA is headed to the third round.

3. Free throws

If one of the eight free throws missed goes in, SMU goes to overtime. Make 25 percent of SMU’s eight misses and SMU is headed back to the hotel celebrating their come from behind win. Yanick Moreira went 0-4 from the line and two of those free throws was a result of not throwing down and finishing a dunk. SMU fans aren’t losing their minds if the team just would have focused at the line and made them swish.

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