A terrible nightmare woke me up this morning—I suppose you could call it more of a memory than a nightmare, but either way it was pretty scary stuff.
I was in the KFC Yum Center in Louisville and Bryce Alford was shooting the lights out of the gym. SMU was holding on to a small lead when Alford got off an ugly looking three point shot over Markus Kennedy’s outstretched arm. The sound of the buzzer woke me up and I couldn’t think of a reason why I’d remember this horrid, horrid day.
Then it hit me. Oh yea, SMU’s terrible perimeter defense Sunday night probably brought all that repressed sadness to the surface.
Though the Mustangs escaped with a 77-69 win over Brown, the Bears 3-point shooting was enough cause for concern.
Brown hit seven 3-pointers on its way to a 25-24 lead with 11:56 left in the first half. The Bears would finish the game with 15 threes on 46.9 shooting from 3-point range.
If not for Keith Frazier and Shake Milton combining for 13 points to spark a 24-12 run to end the half, SMU was going to be in hot water in the second.
The Mustangs needed as big a cushion as possible in the second as they were playing without Nic Moore and Ben Moore.
Nic was out with a broken finger while Ben was suspended for violation of team rules.
Still, shorthanded as they were, the Mustangs kept plugging away and found themselves in the win column.
With Nic and Ben sidelined, opportunity came knocking for SMU’s freshman and they answered. In just his fourth game with SMU, Jarrey Foster posted 15 points, seven boards and four assists—all career highs.
In his first game running the team, Milton finished the game with seven points, one rebound, two steals, and a career-high seven assists.
But the night belonged to SMU's wayward son: Keith Frazier. The junior guard led SMU with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists. His point total of 23 is a new career-high and beat his previous season-high of 13 against Sam Houston State.
Kennedy continues to be consistent this season. He finished with 13 points, five boards, three assists and two blocks. It was his 44th career double-digit scoring effort.
Jordan Tolbert had another solid outing as well, finishing with 10 points and 10 boards. Between Kennedy and Tolbert, that’s 23 points, 15 boards, 12 assists, and three steals. It’s amazing what they can do when they stay out of foul trouble.
But my favorite part of the game, SMU reduced and minimized the turnovers. The Mustangs came into Sunday’s game averaging 12 turnovers a contest. They only gave the ball away nine times against Brown and allowed just five points off turnovers.
Anyone remember my keys to the game?
Jump on Brown early: failed.
Stay out of foul trouble: check.
Minimize turnovers: check.
If those weren’t obvious tenets of winning basketball games, I’d call myself a genius.
You know what would have been a better key, and should be one from here on out? How about close out and defend the 3-pointer.