No. 1 Up: Give me a little Shake and "Shimmy"
Now that I've been able to use that title, on to why Shake Milton and Semi Ojeleye are No. 1. It's pretty easy. These two took over the game in the second half. 20 of Ojeleye's 24 points came in the second half. Whether it was from beyond the arc, finishing at the rim or free throws. Ojeleye did it all. Milton got himself into foul trouble in the first half, but his full arsenal was on display in the second half as Milton finished with five assists and 14 points. Both were key to the win for SMU as their performance will again be a huge factor in whether SMU can take down Michigan on Friday.
No. 2 Up: Start to the game
Thought SMU started pretty well in this one. The starters overall played well together when they were on the floor, as evidenced by the second half performance, and the Mustangs built a 31-20 lead on a 13-0 run. That type of start will be needed against Michigan. SMU was able to get out and run when the team wanted to or get into their sets. Milton was feeling it with a couple nice buckets early too. Fast starts are something SMU needs to continue to do. It allows the team to control the tempo of the game and establish some momentum.
No. 3 Up: Little Things
10-for-13 from the charity stripe and just seven turnovers on the night when your point guard sits a fair amount of the first half is solid. Tim Jankovich has to be happy with when he looks back on this one. Things could come down to free throws against Michigan to close out the game and SMU will need to be as sharp as they were on Thursday. The team will clean a couple things up on Friday at shootaround in terms of team defense, but other than that, it was a good performance for SMU against a step up in talent.
No. 1 Down: Finish to 1st half
The final 6:04 of the first half was not what SMU was looking for with Shake Milton and Jarrey Foster on the bench for the Mustangs. The team showed some trouble dealing with the zone that Pittsburgh went to in addition to going ice cold on the offensive end with good opportunities. The team also saw much of their problems chasing Michael Young around during this time, leaving him open to knock down shots and finish at the rim. Some of this is keeping players in front of defenders and not allowed them to blow by as well. The combination of defensive breakdowns and the offense going dry lead to Pitt going into the half with a two-point lead.
No. 2 Down: Closing out on shooters
SMU struggled at times in the first half especially to close out on Pittsburgh's shooters. That left Pittsburgh open for multiple opportunities and if they were able to take advantage, it might have been a different story. Some of those times, it was SMU defenders getting caught by screens or helping over too much, which left them open. The Panthers ended up going just 6-for-19 from beyond the arc, costing them a chance to grab the win. SMU has always focused on protecting the paint, but the Mustangs will face a talented Michigan team that can take advantage of those miscues.
No. 3 Down: Emelogu ice cold, Brown ejected
I'll start with Sterling Brown. We've seen this before as Brown has always been that on the edge player on SMU's bench especially the last two seasons. Brown was ejected last year for leaving the bench and this year, he is now ejected again for chirping at a Pitt player at the start of a timeout before things escalated, resulting in Brown being ejected. C'mon man. Be better. Speaking of needing to be better, Ben Emelogu had an ice cold night shooting on 1-of-9 shots. That's not going to get it done. Emelogu has the chance to have a strong season and while Jarrey Foster is now starting, Emelogu needs to be relied upon as a 1B to if Foster's 1A.