Emelogu puts together another strong performance
Facing a 13-point deficit in the first half, SMU needed a spark and Ben Emelogu provided it. Emelogu found Ben Moore lurking along the baseline with a nice dropoff bounce pass to set up an and-one, and hit a corner three shortly afterwards. He also played his zone well when SMU went to that defensive tactic, picking up a key steal. Shake Milton picked up his fourth foul early in the second half, and Emelogu performed well as his substitute. After Rob Gray had been consistently attacking Jarrey Foster off the bounce, Emelogu had some success in keeping Gray in front of him. He also hit another corner three to give SMU its first lead since the beginning of the game.
Ben Moore consistent for 40 minutes
SMU played one of its poorer offensive halves in the first 20 minutes at Houston. Ben Moore, though, did his best to keep SMU in it and helped erase the 13-point deficit. He had a team-high nine points in the first half and added six rebounds. Like most games, he proved to be too quick for opposing big men. Saturday, he handled Kyle Meyer when matched up on him. His mid-range jumper was effective as well, helping SMU space the floor and bring out a defender to play him away from the rim. Defensively, he played a consistent game and helped hold Houston's three big men to two total points. Moore played all 40 minutes and registered an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double. He also added three assists and two steals.
Zone defense turns around first half
Houston's offense clicked to start the game: 10-for-19 from the floor and 4-of-8 from 3. SMU's defense had trouble staying on Houston guards Rob Gray and Damyean Dotson. Forward Devin Davis also scored 6 early points, including an uncontested layup along the baseline. SMU changed to a zone it has often mixed in at times this year, and it held Houston to six points in the final 7:23 of the first half. SMU has used zone defenses for stretches, and they've largely worked. Saturday was another example of Tim Jankovich changing to it at the right time and cooling down an opposing offense.
PonyStampede's Phil Mayer contributed.