Semi Ojeleye (MATT VISINSKY)

Three Takeaways: SMU at UCF

PonyStampede's Phil Mayer gives his takeaways and observations from SMU's 65-60 win over UCF.

SMU can survive without one of their starting five

Without Jarrey Foster, SMU was still able to go on the road and beat one of the top teams in the American Conference. One of the biggest storylines around the team this season is their lack of depth. SMU has already proved that they can win without their full complement of players, and now they have proved that they can win with one of them missing. Ben Emelogu stepped in for Foster and was not great, but competent. He did not have major breakdowns on defense and kept the ball moving on offense. Foster's three-point shooting was missed. Foster shoots 43.8% on threes, while Emelogu went just 1-6. Tim Jankovich still barely played Dashawn McDowell with a shorter group of players to choose from. 

SMU's ball movement kills zone defense

With Tacko Fall on the court, UCF is pretty much forced to play a good amount of zone defense. SMU picked apart the zone with smart, quick passes to open up three-point looks. Often times a UCF defender was forced with a tough decision to cover the man with the ball, or a player one pass away. Emelogu was able to pick up a couple of easy assists by swinging the ball to Milton or Ojeleye when a defender rushed up to him. SMU shot 8-22 on the game, which is below their season average, but they got some good looks, especially against zone. 

Another game of good defense

SMU's streak of holding opponents under 70 points extended to 15 games. Ben Moore did a tremendous job on Tacko Fall, denying the big man position inside and even blocking one of his dunk attempts. UCF's sharp-shooter Matt Williams hit four threes early in the first half and looked like he was going to be a problem for SMU, but they played him tight the rest game of the game and held him without a field goal in the final 30 minutes of the game. After a quiet first half, B.J. Taylor began to score on SMU in the second, slicing into the lane and burning SMU for going under screens. But overall, SMU did not let UCF go on any major runs and held a solid offensive team in check. 

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