SMU had seven players play 20 minutes or more tonight with Nic Moore leading the way with 31 minutes — a few minutes less than he averaged last year. Markus Kennedy only played 15 minutes too, but the point being is SMU has very real depth and Tim Jankovich will not be afraid to use it. SMU had four players score 10 points or more with four more having seven or eight points. The rotation tonight was great and had a solid flow to it even with the early foul trouble. Jankovich managed that really well.
I was high on Jarrey Foster coming into tonight and he didn't disappoint me. Foster finished with eight points, three rebounds and two assists, but the star was Shake Milton. Milton went 7-9 from the field with three coming from beyond the arc. Milton also had four assists and four rebounds in his 29 minutes on the floor. With Milton and Foster both showing what they can do, I expect Jankovich to go to them more as the season goes along. Milton especially gives SMU a perimeter scoring threat off the bench that it missed last year especially when the team lost Frazier.
3. Sharing the ball
SMU made the extra pass whenever it had an opportunity to. The team finished with 22 assists on the night with Kennedy leading the way with six. The team did a good job of not settling for shots too often although Keith Frazier took a couple shots that he probably should have waited for a better look or passed the ball. Overall, the team did a great job passing and the post players especially have gotten better at it. SMU got high-percentage shots because of it and took advantage by shooting over 63 percent from the field.
1. Kennedy & Tolbert
This is more about the pair of big men getting into so much foul trouble in the first half. That never really allowed them to get going at all. Kennedy hit a few nice shots and Tolbert scored __ points, but Tolbert struggled a bit when in the game defensively I thought. Tolbert displayed an ability to pass in the paint well, but wasn't a factor especially in the first half. I think SMU will be fine, but it's something to watch as the team plays more talented teams if foul trouble continues to be a theme for the pair. It wasn't exactly the start they wanted, but it wasn't terrible by any means.
2. 2nd Chance Opportunities
SMU gave up far too many second chance opportunities with Sam Houston having 10 offensive boards in the first half, while finishing with 15 offensive boards. SMU will face competition that will be able to take more advantage of that than Sam Houston State was able to and has to clean that up.
3. Free Throws
SMU struggled from the line for tonight, but did a solid job getting to the line. SMU shot just 16-24 from the line with Jarrey Foster finishing 3-6 from the line — the only negative from his night. The team is learning to adjust to the new rules as well so on the other end, the team did a nice job outside of Kennedy limiting their fouls and keeping Sam Houston State away from the line. It didn't matter much either way tonight though as Sam Houston shot just 52 percent from the line. For SMU, they want to improve their percentage no doubt.