How it Happened
The better question might be how didn't it happen. East Carolina, playing without leading scorer and point guard B.J. Tyson, looked woefully bad against an SMU team that has now won 12 of its last 16 games by at least 10 points. SMU sliced through whatever defense the Pirates played, putting up 21 assists on 32 field goals, shooting 49 percent from the floor and committing just five turnovers.
Offensively, ECU struggled to get any shots, telegraphed its passes, committed 17 turnovers (to 13 assists) and shot just 30.6 percent from the floor. SMU double-teamed 7-footer Andre Washington and most other ECU bigs, which forced bad passes back out to the perimeter that resulted in turnovers or bad shots. Washington was a complete non-factor, scoring just two points and not blocking a shot.
No matter if you think SMU's football signing class is good, kind of mediocre or very mediocre, you can agree that East Carolina was objectively #actually bad. At least they all tied their shoes and wore the correct jerseys, which were also objectively #actually bad.
What it Means
With Cincinnati squeezing out a last-second win at Tulsa to stay unbeaten in conference, SMU still remains the lone one-loss team in the AAC. SMU is showing no signs of tiring despite playing with seven players again. Even in the win, it played mostly six players, with Dashawn McDowell sprinkled in. This was the time when SMU started to wear down last season. Easy wins like Wednesday's help prevent too much wear, though. SMU did exactly what it's supposed to do in a conference with its share of mediocre teams: win comfortably against them.
Player of the Game
Ben Moore. The senior was responsible for Andre Washington at times in the first half, and usually part of each double-team on him. In the rare times Moore guarded Washington alone early in the game, he didn't give any space. Moore back-guarded him early, and poked the ball away twice, getting one steal in that situation and two more elsewhere. SMU's defense has improved tremendously since the start of the season, and Moore is among the most consistent on that end of the floor. Moore recorded his sixth double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He added a block and two assists. He had no trouble with Washington on offense either, proving too quick for him when facing up.
Ben Moore had never attempted a three in his career before Wednesday's game. He attempted two in a 90-second span in the second half.
SMU goes back on the road at Tulsa Saturday at 6 p.m. CT.