1. Nic Moore
Since I gave Markus Kennedy player of the game honors, I'll give a nod to SMU's leader, Nic Moore. Nic might have said the best thing I've heard all season at halftime when he told the team, "pressure came when the ruling came, but let's just embrace it and have fun." That's what Nic looked like he did down the stretch. Moore made some huge shots - scoring seven of his 12 second half points in the final 4:49. That's when Moore shines. It should be noted that Moore had a few misses down the stretch, but because of SMU's presence around the rim late in the second half, those misses were converted into points.
2. Team Rebounding
Houston had 23 offensive rebounds with 13 in the first half, but only converted that into 18 second chance points. Now there's plenty of concerns with that number, but SMU played tough enough defense to limit Houston to that number. The way Houston is built, they're a good offensive rebounding team. SMU did take advantage of Houston's inability to stop on SMU on their own offensive glass - scoring 21 second chance points. 16 of those second chance points came in the second half when SMU needed it the most. Guys like Sterling Brown and Markus Kennedy really turned it on the offensive glass to get SMU this win and it's because SMU upped their effort at going to the offensive glass.
3. Moody Magic
That crowd knew the stakes tonight and kept SMU in it energy-wise when it didn't look that great. Even down eight at one point and trailing later in the second half, Moody Magic shined and got the team going. The crowd obviously was helped by the 8 pm start time and that no one really likes Houston if you're an SMU fan. Harry Froling saw exactly what he needed to if he had concerns about atmosphere at all from SMU's crowd tonight. Now, he returns to Australia with a tough decision between SMU and Arizona to make.
1. Three-Point Defense
SMU allowed Houston so many open looks, but yet the Cougars couldn't convert chances in the first half. The Cougars shot 20 percent from three-point range in the first half before turning it on in the second, going 5 of 10. SMU could have helped themselves as well shooting the three by shooting better than 23 percent, but Houston could have without a doubt won with a couple more of those open threes... and making better than 50 percent from the free throw line.
2. Jarrey Foster
Foster is basically the odd man out of SMU's 7-man rotation at this point. Foster saw his minutes slip to 11 tonight as he missed his only shot - a three and finished with one point (1-2 from FT). Foster alos had two turnovers. He really didn't hurt SMU too much, but only saw the floor for three minutes in the second half. Foster has to get back to about 15-17 minutes in games to help SMU stay fresh down the stretch. Foster jumped inside a couple times to help and left open shooters beyond the arc. That can't happen.
3. Shake Milton
I guess while I have the freshmen's ears, Shake Milton didn't have his best game especially in the second half. Milton missed all three of his second half shots and went 0-3 from beyond the arc. With Milton being relied on to play 35 minutes now it seems, SMU needs him to contribute a little more offensively. Could be the flu, but Sniper Shake needs to come back a little bit more in AAC play.