SMU 80 HOUSTON 59
UNIVERSITY PARK – How does SMU overcome the loss of a blue-chip prospect like Keith Frazier?
Answer: They still have Nic Moore.
The junior tied a school record with eight three-pointers in scoring 28 points as SMU cruised its way to the 80-59 win over the Cougars at Moody Coliseum.
“They (his teammates) just kept telling me to shoot the ball…” said Moore, who has averaged 18.2 points in his last five games,” but I just have fun out there and let the game come to me.”
Moore spent much of the first half scoring and dishing to Yanick Moreira, as the two had 10 points each in the first frame. Then Moore completely took over in the second half, hitting six of eight shots from long range as the Mustangs ran away 43-30.
The three-point shooting became infectious in that second half, as both teams combined for 28 long shots in the second half. But Houston only hit 33 percent of those shots while SMU hit 69 percent.
“It did,” Sterling Brown said of his team catching on to shooting threes, “but at the same time we we.re just running our offense… we were executing our plays and the guys were open.”
With all of that, the team’s defensive performance might be overlooked to everyone except Larry Brown.
“That’s how we need to play,” the coach said. “If we rebound and defend and don’t turn the ball over, that’s generally the way we’re most successful.
His team did that on this evening, holding the Cougars to 35 percent shooting and out-rebounding them 43-24, while dishing 24 assists to only 12 turnovers.
And yes, there was an extra bit of motivation for the Mustangs to beat a Cougars team that knocked them out of the AAC Tournament last year, killing their chance at the NCAAs.
“That was our whole mindset, once we knew that we had Houston next on the schedule,” Moore said. “what they did to us last year to end the season.”
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