How it Happened
SMU pulled away after the first few minutes thanks to tough defense and 17 first-half points off eight Stanford turnovers, even though it gave up six early offensive rebounds and Markus Kennedy pickd up two early fouls. Ben Moore had a personal 9-0 run that helped SMU out of a 16-14 hole to a 23-16 lead. The Mustangs wouldn't relinquish the lead again. Stanford had a mini 6-0 run to pull within five late in the first half, but Nic Moore found Keith Frazier in transition for layup and Jordan Tolbert for a dunk to squash any of Stanford's momentum. The reigning AAC Player of the Year scored 17 points, but impacted the offense in other ways as usual, most notably his five assists. SMU controlled the game in the second half, leading by as many as 20 points and maintaining at least a ten-point lead for all but a minute and 36 seconds.
What it Means
SMU played clean basketball for nearly every minute and didn't have too much trouble with a talented but sloppy Stanford team. The passing was as good as it's been. Several baskets had "hocket assists", with two sharp, quick passes leading to a basket. SMU was focused and much cleaner in its first road test than it was last season, even when hit with early foul trouble. When a team can play cleanly on its first road trip, It's a good sign for the rest of the season and for SMU's other nonconference tests and tough conference road games.
Player of the Game
Ben Moore and Nic Moore. Both deserved it, but Ben Moore kick-started SMU's first-half run. He did a little of everything, scoring off pick and rolls, inbound passes and second chances. He did most of his work with Markus Kennedy on the bench and finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Nic Moore was zoned in and passed with precision all game, and scored nine consecutive points that kept Stanford from getting too close.
Freshman point guard Sedrick Barefield played just two minutes against Sam Houston State because of a fever. But he only played two minutes at the end of the first half against Stanford, despite being over his illness. With Nic Moore playing as well as he was and avoiding foul trouble, he had no reason to come out.
SMU will fly home overnight and take on Yale at Moody Coliseum on Sunday afternoon at 3:30.