1. Markus Kennedy
Kennedy and Ben Moore both beat TCU in different ways tonight with Kennedy beating up the TCU bigs and Ben blowing by them early in the game. Even with all three big men in foul trouble, Kennedy especially performed well for SMU tonight without much help from the other guards. Kennedy had eight of his 15 in the second half when SMU needed them the most. Last year, this would have likely been a 20+, 10+ rebound night for Knnedy. As he continues to adjust, the scoring and better control at fouling will come. He's got to find different ways to defend and score. Tonight, he took some steps forward. With 11:20 to go though, Kennedy fought off three defenders and with 10:38 to go threw down an alley oop to give SMU a nine-point lead. TCU came roaring back though and tied SMU going into the under-8 timeout and then Moore took over, more on that in part two. Want to know who tipped Chauncey Collins' wide-open three look at the end when TCU was down five, Kennedy.
2. Nic Moore
First time this year that Moore has truly put SMU on his back. The game-time decision made some key buckets down the stretch to keep SMU in it, including back-to-back threes with 12 minutes to go. Moore iced the game in a sense when he blew past a TCU defender, changed hands in the air and laid in the layup with 49 seconds to go. Moore had nine of SMU's last 11 points in the game. It wasn't always pretty for Moore, who started a little slow shooting wise, but he got it done in crunch time when SMU needed the most. There's something about his swagger that has to be terrifying for opposing coaches when he gets going. TCU had no answer once he did.
3. No Panic
Sitting right behind the SMU bench, outside of Keith Frazier (more on that), there wasn't panic on this team. Everyone always kept each other in the game, teammates encouraged, theere was a confident swagger about the team. Markus Kennedy knew Nic Moore would step up when needed and he did. Kennedy had to carry SMU for a bit there, but that was fine with him. Kennedy talked about it after the game saying how that's just business as usual. When Shake Milton drove the lane and lost the handle, who cleaned up the pieces and laid in the basket when SMU needed it most? Sterling Brown, who hadn't quit on the play and gave SMU a huge basket. There wasn't much else to be proud of except the calmness of the bench.
1. Keith Frazier
As soon as Frazier missed that three-pointer when SMU was about to finish their comeback, he pysched himself out. Frazier grabbed two fouls and missed another shot. He did have a really nice assist to Sterling Brown, but Frazier couldn't mentally come back from that. After his bad miss and a quick foul, Frazier even went to the bench and sat down, thinking he'd be taken out. Frazier finished 0-4 with four rebounds, three turnovers, a block and a steal. Overall, not the night he was looking for after his big performance against Brown.
2. Three-Point Defense
SMU's three-point defense was one part TCU being red hot from way beyond the arc early and a second part being SMU's 2-3 zone giving TCU's shooters soft spots, which SMU had to give them because of TCU's ability to shoot at the elbow. The team was still slow rotating at times tonight, but TCU decided to go into the paint a lot more than they probably should have, even with their success 38-32 and TCU's 33 percent from beyond the arc. If TCU takes another five threes, I really think they come out on top with the way they were shooting. Lot of different things at work with SMU's defense, but three-point shooting defense is probably their toughest correction to make right now — outside of their miserable 12-21 from the line.
3. Foul Trouble
It was really tough for Tim Jankovich to manage the bench, which he did so by playing more zone, which left SMU susceptible to those threes we talked about. Jonathan Wilfong came in at guard late in the first half and Sedrick Barefield didn't see the floor. Jankovich showed a lot of trust in his guys to play with foul trouble, but he really had no choice. Some of the fouls were dumb, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but I can't imagine trying to find the consistency in foul-calling.