1. Ben Moore
The junior quietly had a productive day on both ends of the floor for the Mustangs. Moore finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Mustangs, but his solid afternoon was spoiled and overshadowed by the team’s loss.
2. Perimeter Defense
While SMU did leave a few players open here and there, they still held Cincinnati to 1-19 shooting from behind the arc, which is a rarity. Despite struggling offensively, Shake Milton did a nice job of making Troy Caupain’s day difficult, which led to the junior missing all six of his three-point attempts.
Despite the loss, SMU never gave up. Especially once Markus Kennedy fouled out, all odds were stacked against the six remaining scholarship players. Nic Moore, Jordan Tolbert and Ben Moore tried to will the Mustangs to a win, but the lack of offensive help from Shake Milton, plus some poorly timed turnovers, made things too difficult.
The Mustangs’ had 17 turnovers against Cincinnati, which made establishing an offensive rhythm nearly impossible. The Bearcats also did a great job of capitalizing off the Mustangs’ mistakes with 12 second-chance points in the first half alone. In the end, the Mustangs’ turnover cost the team their second-straight AAC title.
Well below their season average, the Mustangs shot 39 percent from the field, and made just 2-12 three-pointers. Cincinnati’s physicality made things tough for the Mustangs, who continued their recent trend of poor foul shooting as well (8-12).
3. Shake Milton
The freshman guard finally made his first basket with 2 minutes left in the game, but the Oklahoma native was noticeably absent from the Mustangs’ offense all afternoon. Milton took just three shots, and lacked his normal aggression from behind the arc.