That’s it, it’s over.
All good things must someday end and so too must SMU's pursuit of perfection.
Now that the possibility of perfection is over, I think we can all acknowledge how incredibly difficult it would have been for SMU to be perfect—with just seven scholarship players—for an entire season.
Even though coming into Sunday’s road contest against Temple, SMU hadn’t played perfect basketball—especially after the Keith Frazier departure.
It seems the past couple of seasons, SMU has struggled to keep its turnover total down.
At times, they are so good at taking it away themselves and at getting second chance looks, that it can be easy to overlook or excuse the lack of ball security.
While 14 turnovers, is not the worst total SMU has turned in over the past few seasons, Sunday’s turnovers seemed to come at the most inopportune time.
At the end of the second half, SMU went on a run to make things interesting again, but just when you thought we were about to see another magical comeback to keep the dream alive, SMU turned it over and Temple rebuilt its lead.
And even during that late run by SMU, you could tell the Mustangs were barely avoiding turning it over again.
One play that sticks out to me, started with an awkward pass from Sterling Brown to Nic Moore, just before he crossed half court.
Moore then dribbled a bit and made a bounce pass to Ben Moore who had to reach for it, and managed to get to it with his fingertips and save it just before it went the other way.
Then, somehow, he got the ball back to Sterling who missed a shot, got his own rebound and got the follow up to go down.
Sloppy play won’t get you a perfect season.
Sometimes, you just can’t stop the perfect storm.
What has been SMU’s biggest weakness during the Larry Brown era?
Defending the three.
If someone gets hot from deep, it’s going to be tough to stop no matter who you are and it’s even harder if you are SMU.
Devin Coleman had one of those Russ Smith or Bryce Alford kind of nights against SMU. He finished with a career-high 23 points and was seven of seven from 3-point range.
And it wasn’t just Coleman, the rest of the owls added seven more 3-pointers—to give them 14 made 3’s to SMU’s three.
SMU lost by 9 points, despite scoring four more buckets than Temple, getting 22 second chance points to the Owls’ nine, and scoring 48 points in the paint to Temple’s 22.
If you said that SMU would dominate the paint and offensive glass like that, you’d probably expect they’d win—just like they did for 18 games.
You can say what you want about SMU’s 3-point defense, but Temple didn’t jack up 29 wide-open 3’s. The Mustang’s interior defense forces teams to turn to the 3-pointer.
Most nights a team isn’t going to shoot nearly 50 percent from long range.
Sometimes it will.
That’s the way basketball goes.