How it Happened
The hometown kid Jarrey Foster led the way in the first half for SMU as he had nine points in a back-and-forth first half that eventually found SMU leading by five at the half. Houston was absolutely brutal turning the ball over, but SMU didn't execute well enough on the offensive end to take advantage. Houston did a nice job outrebounding SMU and also getting out on the fast break as the Cougars outscored SMU 12-0 on the fast break.
SMU started the second half about as well as you could have wanted them to. The Mustangs got a three from Shake Milton right off the bat and managed to build a 11-point lead early. Milton hit two three-point shots in the first three minutes of the second half. Houston continued their turnover ways early in the second half, but got them corrected. It got dicey though for SMU as Houston had some bigtime plays to close the gap to two points at the under-12 timeout. Houston went on a 14-0 run at one point to put the Cougars up by six at the under-8 timeout.
Houston continued to get second chances and that was the difference. SMU left just a little too much room from beyond the arc for the Cougars and that proved to be the difference. Houston shot 43 percent from beyond the arc, but it was the timeliness as SMU's offense dried up, Houston's flourished. SMU also missed a productive night from Nic Moore as he battled a shoulder injury that didn't help his night overall. Moore still finished with 16 points on 5-12 shooting. His offensive outburst was just a little too late. SMU got a shot to tie it at the end, but it wasn't what the staff wanted at all and SMU fell to Houston 71-68.
What it Means
SMU wasn't able to win their sixth straight regular season game over Houston. SMU battled a tough night in the paint for SMU's bigs and as Houston was hot from beyond the arc. The same thing that plagued SMU against Temple came back to bite them. Inept offense, an inability to defend the three and foul trouble forced SMU to drop their second game in their last three.
Player of the Game
F Markus Kennedy: Kennedy had a nice game with both Jordan Tolbert and Ben Moore struggling from the floor. Kennedy was the only reliable big man on the night and he finished with 12 points and eight rebounds while staying out of foul trouble until late in the game.
Houston again missed point guard Rob Gray, Jr. against SMU, who is the team's leading scorer and lost Galen Robinson, Jr. for much of the first half after he was called for an offensive foul on Nic Moore. Robinson returned early in the second half and finished with six points and five rebounds.
SMU takes on USF on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 1 pm CT on the road.