SMU 70 @ CENTRAL FLORIDA 61
As SMU prepared for a tough road trip that was forthcoming, Larry Brown was not yet ready to say his squad was firing on all cylinders just yet.
“It’s still in my mind a work in progress,” Brown said following Thursday’s win over Memphis, “But we’ll find out a lot about our team the next two games because we had a chance to beat Indiana, we didn’t play well at Cincinnati, we played really well when it mattered at Michigan – I think you really judge your team by how you do on the road and how you handle adversity.”
For at least one of those two games, the Mustangs may have passed the test. SMU once again looked like the type of team it was last season – great shooting on their end with tough defense on the other – in beating Central Florida 70-61 at the CFE Arena in Orlando.
The Mustangs held Central Florida to 36 percent shooting while shooting 57 percent themselves, including a blistering 62.5 percent in the second half.
Much of that could be attributed to Nic Moore, who hit five of nine shots from three-point range to lead SMU with 21 points.
The game did get a little sloppy in the second half, and Brown likely wasn’t too happy that the nine of SMU’s 13 turnovers came in that second frame. But the Mustangs did make up for it by luring UCF into seven of its nine turnovers in the second half. And the 37 percent shooting they allowed in the second half was way better than the 52 percent they allowed Memphis in the same frame.
Either way, it was still a second straight game where the Mustangs shot better than 50 percent and had more assists (19 in this game) than turnovers, which is definitely what Brown wants to see more than ever. And the combined effort at both ends has SMU with the best scoring margin in the American Athletic conference.
If that’s a team that has not yet reached its full potential, heaven help the rest of the AAC should the Ponies reach what Brown thinks is their full potential.
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