How it Happened
After struggling in the first half against Gardner-Webb, SMU came out looking much sharper against Eastern Michigan. The Mustangs defended well and passed the ball crisply to score on EMU's 2-3 zone. Once SMU entered the ball inside the three point arc, it scored easily. Ben Moore and Harry Froling found cutters along the baseline for dunks, and the Ponies grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the half. SMU also played well in transition, pushing the pace after defensive rebounds and turnovers. The only area of weakness for SMU was EMU guard Willie Magnum IV. The senior guard dropped 16 points in the first half, nailing four three-pointers. SMU took a 46-32 lead into halftime.
SMU continued to dominate in the second half. Its 14-point lead became a 20-point lead after a Sterling Brown three and a Jarrey Foster Euro-step and-one in the first couple minutes of the half. After SMU's 3-point heavy approach against Gardner-Webb, the Mustangs took more shots inside the arc today. EMU's guards worked very hard to deny the three-point shot, and the Mustangs took advantage by scoring inside. On defense, SMU's perimeter defenders stayed in front of EMU's guards pretty easily. The lack of dribble penetration led to a lost of contested jumpers by EMU.
What it Means
EMU took Pitt (who SMU plays on Thursday) to double overtime, while SMU handled the Eagles pretty easily. Tim Jankovich had a strong game plan for EMU's zone, showing off his ability to make adjustments. Jarrey Foster started at shooting guard and played very well; it is looking more and more like he is the long-term solution at that position. Their three freshman were all able to score their first points of the season. SMU fans have to feel pretty confident going into the 2K Classic on Thursday, given how the team fared these first couple of games.
Player of the Game
Jarrey Foster. Foster played with tremendous energy this afternoon, attacking the glass and helping SMU win 50-50 balls. Foster also filled his lanes well on the fast break and made smart cuts against the zone, leading to him catching a handful of lobs. He aplayed very well on the defensive end as well. He finished with 18 points, three rebounds and two assists, shooting an efficient 8-9 from the field.
Jarrey Foster replaced Ben Emelogu in the starting lineup today. Foster played 29 minutes, while Emelogu played 20. Emelogu also hit a three-pointer today, after not making any Friday night.
SMU travels to Madison Square Garden to compete in the 2K Classic. They face Pitt at 6 PM CT.