1. Markus Kennedy
Kennedy wasn't able to completely take over the game, but he was a big reason why SMU was in it. Kennedy was SMU's only consistent offensive threat against Houston. The big man had 12 points and nine rebounds and although he finished with four fouls, was not in foul trouble most of the night. Kennedy committed two quick fouls that really cost his ability to be physical down the stretch for fear of fouling out, but again, he was the most consistent offensive threat for SMU. Kennedy actually ended up having a critical block at the end of the first half that eventually allowed the game to still be a one-possession game... small wins.
2. Late Push
Led by Nic Moore and actually, only Nic Moore, SMU made a late push to close the gap to two points with under a minute to go. In the final 13:36, not one SMU player outside of Moore made a basket. That's terrible, but somehow SMU still found themselves with a chance to win. The team didn't get the shot they wanted at all at the end, but with nothing left in the tank and Ben Moore fouled out, SMU had a shot. Gotta give some credit to Nic, who battled injury and a pretty poor night shooting overall, to get the Mustangs a shot at the win.
SMU went 20-23 from the line. Too bad they couldn't do that from beyond the arc. It seemed like Houston did.
1. Three-Point Defense
Houston still shot 43 percent from beyond the arc on 7-16 shooting, but it was the ball movement that SMU allowed that really hurt them. Houston had a hand in their faces a lot of the times, but continued to drain threes. Even Devonta Pollard knocked down a three from the top of the key. You knew it was a bad night when the Cougars had that going for them.
2. Ben Moore and Jordan Tolbert
Both had four fouls with about half the second half left to be played and continued to struggled most of the game. The pair combined for 2-11 shooting. While Ben Moore was a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line, he also fouled out and was in foul trouble for a lot of the second half. Tolbert was also in foul trouble and just didn't contribute much overall. These two have to forget about this one and get back on track against USF.
This kind of goes with the second down, but SMU got outrebounded 41-27. How embarassing is that for a team that prides themselves on rebounding? This isn't solely on the bigs, but it also allowed Houston to outscore SMU inside the paint. It also led to multiple three-point shots made on these second chance opportunities. The rebounding and effort on the glass the team displayed (outside of Kennedy I thought), has to be fixed. They're playing with seven guys, but they're embracing it and have done fine for a lot of the season. Time to step this back up.