Matt Visinsky

Three takeaways: SMU at Memphis

PonyStampede's three takeaways from SMU's conference opener 58-54 win at Memphis Tuesday night at FedEx Forum.

SMU's zone defense worked well

SMU showed some 2-3 zone later in the first half when Ben Moore left with two fouls. Tim Jankovich likes to use it when one of SMU's bigs gets in foul trouble. Moore played a big role in Dedric Lawson's slow start offensively, but the zone limited the looks for him as well. SMU used it in the second half at times too, with similar success. Memphis collapsed it on a Jeremiah Martin and-1 that made the score 51-48, and also split it once to find Dedric Lawson under the hoop. But otherwise SMU got a lot of stops when it played zone. It also played a little 1-3-1 zone in the second half, with Semi Ojeleye at the top of it.

Bench production was nonexistent

Down to seven scholarship players again, SMU only has Ben Emelogu and Dashawn McDowell on its bench. The duo combined for three points, three rebounds and two turnovers. Emelogu made a 3 and had an assist, but he didn't play much during the second half. McDowell had a steal, but turned it over before half court when trying to dribble behind his back. He didn't play in the second half. SMU put in Jonathan Wilfong with about six minutes left in the first half, usually a spot where coaches like to put in their fringe rotation players. SMU basically beat Memphis with five players in the second half.  Production and quality minutes from Emelogu and McDowell will be critical as conference play continues.

SMU limited the good looks for Dedric Lawson

Denying Lawson the ball as much as possible was clearly a focal point on defense for SMU. Lawson had 14 points and six rebounds on 4-for-12 shooting, seven points and five rebounds below his season averages. The quality of the shots he took wasn't great. SMU prevented him from consistently getting position in the post. He slipped past Ben Moore for a layup early in the game, split a zone defense for a layup late, but also took some jumpers where he wasn't working toward the rim. He was fouled a couple times under the basket, but SMU controlled him on most plays designed to get him the ball moving toward the basket. Ben Moore handled him early in the game, and SMU's zone helped prevent him from getting consistent touches. His presence was more impactful on defense, where he had five blocks and gave SMU problems around the rim. 


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