How it Happened
Right off the bat, Sterling Brown made back-to-back three-point shots to get it going for SMU. Brown had eight of SMU's first 10 points and Nicholls State didn't score until 16:43 left in the first half and it was already 12-2. SMU was rolling early with their short bench too. Without Keith Frazier, Markus Kennedy or Sedrick Barefield, SMU didn't mess around. The team was hot off the bat shooting from beyond the arc and was clearly the more athletic team.
With Ben Moore having 16 points and seven rebounds at the half and Jordan Tolbert adding nine points and 11 rebounds by just halftime, SMU established their inside game over the unathletic Nicholls State bigs early. Meanwhile, SMU got to rest the likes of Markus Kennedy and Keith Frazier, who were battling injuries. Shake Milton also amassed 20 points in the win, but just 1-for-5 from beyond the arc.
What it Means
Well it proved SMU can win when their bench is totally depleted. Outside of that, nothing much. The team could have taken a night off, but didn't. Instead, the team came out firing and dominated start to finish. There were small mental lapses like the few possessions following the under-12 timeout in the second half, but overall, it was a good performance.
Player of the Game
Ben Moore: With tying career-high of 22 points and his 15 rebounds, Ben Moore teamed with Tolbert to dominate Nicholls State down low. Moore threw down dunks, scored from the mid-range territory and just brought it tonight. Moore seemed relaxed and comfortable in this win, which is key for him to be able to perform like he's capable of. I thought about giving it to Tolbert, but overall, just thought Moore had a better game. 23 rebounds or not.
Jonathan Wilfong played a career-high in minutes and had a career-high of three points, but had a turnover and fouled three players. He also air-balled it a couple times. That being said, he didn't kill SMU tonight with the short bench. Tolbert's 23 points were the most by an SMU forward since Ira Terrell on this day in 1975.
SMU has a quick turnaround as they face Hampton in Moody Coliseum tomorrow at 6 pm CT.