1: Limiting turnovers
Coming into this game, SMU was averaging 14 turnovers per game and they turned it over 20 times in their previous game against Delaware State. CU is an aggressive defense, averaging ten steals per game. Forcing turnovers is part of their identity. However, the Mustangs did a much better job of limiting them tonight, turning it over just five times. SMU seemed to play more under control and limited the careless plays that bit them against Delaware State and Cal State Bakersfield.
2: Getting to the foul line
SMU used TCU's aggression against them, getting to the free throw line at crucial times in the second half. They finished with 30 free throw attempts in the game, making 23 of them. In the second half SMU got into the bonus early, getting to the line with reach-ins and over-the-back fouls. SMU finished with 16 more made free throws than TCU. During stretches in the second half when they seemed to have trouble scoring, free throws were SMU's saving grace.
While Alex Robinson was able to have some success running the pick and roll, SMU did a very good job on the defensive end overall. SMU forced 11 turnovers, and held TCU to 42.3% shooting. TCU had been shooting 48.4 percent coming into the game. TCU did not have anyone who could overpower SMU's big men inside, and they shot just 27.1 percent from beyond the arc. SMU did a spectacular job of forcing a normally efficient team into low percentage shots.
1: Allowing dribble penetration off the pick and roll
SMU allowed TCU's guards Alex Robinson and Jaylen Fisher to consistently slice into the lane on the pick-and-roll, opening up drop-off passes to big men and kickouts for three-point attempts. SMU's guards often went over screens while their big men dropped back, allowing TCU's guards to penetrate. Alex Robinson, in particular, took advantage of this, driving deep into the paint. Robinson finished with ten assists.
2: Finishing around the rim
SMU struggled finishing layups this game. They missed four of their first 12 layup attempts, and that does not include Semi Ojeleye's two missed dunks. Towards the end of the game, SMU began to finish better at the rim, but their misses early were part of the reason why TCU was able to hang around when SMU was consistently getting better looks.
3: Three point shooting
SMU did not shoot the ball well from three in this game, finishing just 5-of-16. TCU ran a 2-3 zone for most of the night, which SMU was not able to carve up with passing like they were against Eastern Michigan. Shake Milton hit pair of corner triples on consecutive possessions in the first half, and Ojeleye hit a dagger at the end, but overall SMU was not able to get many clean looks from three.