It was certainly nice to see SMU put another one in the win column and it was great having Markus Kennedy reprise his role as a dominant force.
However the question looming over the Mustangs 74-63 win over ECU Sunday afternoon is whether they are going to string together a couple more or continue spinning in this revolving door of wins and losses.
Kennedy finished with 19 points and nine rebounds, but SMU was led by—who else—Nic Moore.
Over this weird stretch of wins and losses, Moore has been one of the few Mustangs consistently pulling his weight.
Sunday night, he continued his hot streak, with 22 points and seven assists on 50 percent shooting. His performance against ECU marked the 11th consecutive game with 10 points or more and his ninth this season of at least 20.
It certainly has been fun watching Moore help transform the culture here at SMU, and with each passing game the weight of his imminent departure grows heavier on my mind.
Kennedy had almost become an afterthought. I suppose his lack of production over the past couple of games allowed him to slip under that melancholy shaded radar.
But the way he played Sunday, made it hard not to remember how it first felt to watch him and Moore during the early stages of the Larry Brown era.
I guess we are still in that early part. Seeing their time on the Hilltop slowly march to its conclusion, feels like the end of some kind of chapter.
Maybe it just feels strange because it’s not the kind of ending I (and probably others) feel they deserved.
Moore and Kennedy, more so than any other players Brown has brought to the Hilltop, have been the faces of SMU basketball.
For lack of a better word, they’ve been the pioneers of this culture change. Those kinds of players should deserve more than a handful of games to compete for a regular season championship.
I’m getting off topic here, but these pieces are always a free flowing, stream of consciousness type of thing.
Anyway, my point was: it was good to see Kennedy and Moore acting as a one-two punch again.
We can only hope they continue to do so for their remaining games together.
Sunday nights, SMU seemed to take a step back to its offensive form from the earlier part of the season.
Part of that, I guess, meant forgetting about ball security?
SMU had 15 turnovers Sunday, and ECU only got 14 points off those turnovers. A better team like UConn or Cincinnati will make them pay.
One of the things SMU did REALLY well Sunday was rebounding—SMU out rebounded ECU 41-17.
We’re used to seeing the Mustangs dominate the glass, but a +24 differential is ridiculous. No effort there by ECU and it shows in SMU’s 13-3 edge in second chance points.
A better team isn’t going to concede the glass like that, and it won’t let turnovers go to waste.
SMU needs to be dialed in and focused here in the last four games, because there is not a lot of wiggle room at the top of the AAC.
If the Mustangs want to send Jordan Tolbert, Kennedy, and Moore out like Jared Allen, they are going to need to play their best basketball in the final stretch.