What we learned from SMU’s 88-73 Victory over UCF

 

 Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We need Moore games like this from Ben

Ben Moore has had an up and down first three seasons at SMU but against the Knights Moore showed what fans had been hoping to see for a long time — that the guy can really ball. Despite playing most games out of position at the power forward, Moore has always shown the ability to bang with even the biggest opponents, but on Sunday, he showed a nice scoring touch by setting a new career high with 23 points on 11-of-17 shooting. In the past, he may have deferred to other options that were on the court but it looks like he finally may be coming into his own as a scorer and if the Mustangs hope to stay undefeated, we need to see more of this from Moore.

The SMU big men aren’t afraid of a challenge

Its one thing to face a team that has one player that presents a unique size advantage, but its another to face an opponent that offers two guys with uniquely different talents. UCF boast perhaps the biggest and tallest frontcourt in the country with center Tacko Fall coming in at a lanky 7’6 and Justin McBride being generously listed as 6’10 325lbs. Despite the sizeable challenge, the frontcourt tandem of Jordan Tolbert and Markus Kennedy held their own. Tolbert, who watched Space Jam and WWE wrestling to prepare for the match-ups, finished with 19 points and seven rebounds — with four coming on the offensive side. And while Kennedy may not have had the statistical game he may have hoped for — only two points and two rebounds — he did a good job by creating space for others to score in the lane. SMU scored 42 times in the paint and had 11 second-chance points.

The SMU coaches are minute magicians

With Keith Frazier no longer a part of the team, Ben Emelogu still trying to come back from an injury, and Semi Ojeleye being redshirted the Mustangs are down to only seven scholarship players. But despite that challenge the team presses on and against UCF that bench became smaller as Kennedy only played 14 minutes before fouling out. Reduced to having only one true big man in Tolbert, head coach Larry Brown — and eventually Tim Jankovich after Brown left due to illness — constantly came up with line-up combinations that rested players, but also kept UCF off-balance despite having the size advantage.

Being able to adjust to the way the referees are calling the game has been important all season and against UCF it was no different with Kennedy being the only Mustangs player to have foul trouble. Despite logging a season-high 37 minutes, Moore was called for only one foul and as this quest for an undefeated season continues that will be key due to the thin bench.

 

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