Semi Ojeleye (Photo by Matt Visinsky)

Rapid Reaction | SMU tops Albany 71-53 in nonconference finale

Pony Stampede has your rapid reaction to SMU's 71-53 win over Albany in the Mustangs' nonconference finale in Moody Coliseum.

How it Happened

SMU roared out to a 9-0 lead to start things off with four different Mustangs scoring the team's first nine points on the night. From there, SMU engaged in a back and forth first half. SMU let Albany hang around in the first half with just a 34-32 lead at the half. Ojeleye lead the with 17 of his 28 points in the first half. Albany clawed its way back to close the gap to 9-7 and then with 10:12 to go in the first half, took its first lead after a Travis Charles free throw. SMU went up again on an Ojeleye three with 9:11 to go in the first half and did not trail again until 22 seconds left when Albany went up by one. Ojeleye answered that bucket with a three-pointer with four seconds left in the half and SMU never trailed again.

SMU did have only 10 turnovers on the night, something that you can always look at as a positive, but SMU did allow the Danes to hang around in this one. The team regrouped at halftime and built a big lead in the second half. From 8:22 to 4:22 in the second half, SMU held Albany scoreless while building a 13-point lead. SMU then cruised to a 18-point win with Sterling Brown having 10 of his 12 points in the second half. 

What it Means

SMU avoided that dreaded letdown game following a big win over Stanford on Monday night and now can head into AAC play with momentum on its side. This team was one of the better teams in the American East and especially defensively. SMU didn't run through them like the Mustangs did against Stanford, but it was an efficient, methodical win for SMU. 

Player of the Game: Semi Ojeleye

No doubt about this one. Semi Ojeleye had 28 points with 12 points coming from beyond the arc to lead the way for SMU. Ojeleye was 9-15 from the floor on the night in his 37 minutes on the floor before SMU emptied the bench late. The Duke transfer added five rebounds on the night. As far as the game goes, Ojeleye dominated and put the team on his back in the win over the Danes with the next closest Mustang notching 12 points.

Side Note

Coming into the game, Albany outrebounded its opponents by over 10 rebounds per game, but SMU flipped the script in Moody Coliseum as the Mustangs outrebounded the Danes 33-25. The Mustangs weren't great from the free throw line going just 13-24. That can use a little work over the holiday break.  

What's Next?

SMU will face Memphis in the first of two straight road games on December 27 to open AAC play at 8 pm CT on ESPNU before the team heads to East Carolina on New Year's Eve.


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