How it Happened
A long scoring drought mixed with a 14-0 run in the second half doomed SMU against USC. Wednesday against Boise State, that drought came even sooner and put SMU in a large deficit early. SMU had a 12-11 lead, then gave up a 12-0 run. The Mustangs trailed 44-24 at halftime, gave up five 3-pointers and turned the ball over 10 times. Defensively, they allowed easy dribble penetration and a lot of open looks from 3. SMU created a few open 3-pointers of its own by running a shooter to an open shot, but didn't hit any of them.
SMU opened the second half on a 12-0 run of its own, with Ben Moore supplying eight of the points. Moore finished the game with 19 points and 14 rebounds, both team-highs. A Shake Milton layup with 12:53 left brought SMU within 8, 46-38, but Boise State responded with a 3-pointer from Justinian Jessup. SMU narrowed its deficit to eight points three more times in the next 10 minutes, but couldn't string together made field goals or enough stops to bring it much closer. Sterling Brown made one of two free throws with 3:02 left to bring SMU within seven, but his poor defense on the other end on the ensuring possession resulted in Chandler Hutchinson's 3-point play that made the score 65-55.
What It Means
Another game, another poor defensive showing, and SMU's worst loss in a long time. Boise State got to the basket at will, taking advantage of poor position and help by SMU. They got open 3-pointers because SMU cover-collapsed and over-rotated down, and also got caught on screens. SMU lacked energy and awareness on defense.
Offensively, turnovers, poor passing, missing 3s and an inability to get open around the rim resulted in another flat game. SMU had a lot of success getting alley-oops and layups on cuts to the hoop created by screens earlier this year, but hasn't in its three losses. SMU's free throw problems continued as well. The Mustangs came into the game shooting only 66.9 percent from the foul line, and made only 11 of 22 free throw attempts Wednesday.
Player of the Game
Chandler Hutchinson. He had a game-high 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He also prevented SMU from getting too much momentum a few times during the game. He scored his team's first six points. He snapped SMU's 12-0 run that opened the half with a jumper. He made back-to-back jump shots when SMU cut Boise State's lead to 8 with six minutes to go. And his 3-point play with 2:35 left was right after SMU came within seven points for the first time all half.
SMU didn't make a 3-pointer until Sterling Brown hit one with 19 seconds left in the game. The Mustangs shot 1-for-11 from 3-point range.
SMU returns home to start a six-game stay at Moody Coliseum when it hosts Cal State-Bakersfield on Friday at 7 p.m. CT.