How it Happened
SMU thoroughly outplayed ECU, beating the Pirates 75-44 in ECU's own arena. The Pirates hung around in the first half, but SMU ran away with the game in the second. SMU built a ten point lead in the first half despite shooting just 33 percent from the field. Much of their offense came on second chance points, as they out-rebounded ECU 29-12 in the first. ECU's 7-foot-1 center Andre Washington had just one defensive rebound in the first half. SMU's big wings were able to muscle their way inside into good position, killing ECU's guard-heavy rotation. SMU continued to outplay the Pirates in the second half. ECU was not able to get much of anything going offensively, often settling for long range jumpers by low percentage shooters. SMU moved the ball well and executed their plays to free up shooters, who knocked down their open shots. SMU went on a 22-6 run to put ECU away in the second half. Everyone chipped in for SMU on offense tonight, as all five starters finished with double digits in scoring. Ben Moore was excellent in this game, finishing with 18 point and 11 rebounds. Sterling Brown also had a double-double, with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
What it Means
SMU proved that they could survive a cold, 2-for-10 shooting night from Semi Ojeleye, who has been the go-to scorer throughout this season. They received offensive contributions from all six of their rotation players, and played a good game on defense. In the second half, they were really firing on all cylinders, outscoring the Pirates 41-20. SMU also bounced back from a poor free throw shooting night against Memphis to go 19-20 tonight. This is SMU's eighth straight win, as they have fully recovered from their slow start to the season.
Player of the Game
Ben Moore went up against ECU's center Andre Washington, who holds a five-inch height advantage on Moore, and worked him. Moore swooped in for offensive rebounds when Washington played help defense, and beat Washington on face-ups. Washington finished with just six points and four rebounds. Moore had 14 points and eight rebounds by halftime, and finished with 18 and 11.
For the second straight game, Jonathan Wilfong saw some first half action.
SMU comes home to play Temple at 8 PM CT on Wednesday, January 4.