The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Smith, Cardinals too much for men’s basketball; SMU loses 84-71

When facing an opponent like No. 11 Louisville, a team needs to come out aggressive from the beginning. They have to play at a higher intensity than the Cardinals, and they have to sustain for 40 minutes.

On Wednesday night, No. 18 SMU, came out aggressive early on. They played with more intensity than their opponent, but they could not sustain it long enough and fell to No.11 Louisville 84-71.

“You can see why they are a championship team,” SMU head coach Larry Brown said. “they started off poorly and I think we might have played at an unbelievably high level early, but we weren’t prepared they way they were and that’s on me.”

In the second half Chris Jones hit a tying 3-pointer then stole an inbounds pass, made a lay up while being fouled, and made the free throw for a 40-37 lead. Louisville never trailed again.

Once SMU was behind, Louisville’s game plan was to shoot threes and send the Mustangs to the line.

“In the first half we could kind of weather it a little bit because we got off to a lead,” Brown said. “I don’t think we showed any poise at all. I don’t think we showed any poise when they went after us.”

Playing against high-caliber programs is something relatively new to the Mustangs; Wednesday’s contest was the first home game at Moody that matched ranked teams in Moody since 1985.

SMU had already defeated three top-25 teams at home this season, but the American Athletic Conference leading and defending national champion Louisville got the better of them.

“I saw some ugly stuff out there,” Brown said. “The way we acted- forget how we played-just the way we acted. You know, letting calls and what they thought should have been a call, maybe a teammate missing an assignment. You get over that but I don’t think we were focusing on the things we needed to do.”

Led by guard Russ Smith’s six three-pointers, the Cardinals connected on an impressive 56.5 percent from three-point range. Smith made three of his three-pointers in a 72 second span.

“We got it down 55-54 and I thought maybe we can get back on track, but Russ Smith was phenomenal,” Brown said. “I thought some of his shots were pretty well defended, but you gotta give it to him, he was remarkable.”

Smith dominated the second period with 22 of his 26 points coming in the second half. Smith added six rebounds, and five assists to go with his point total.

Jones finished with 21 points, while Harrell had 19 and Luke Hancock 15 to go with Smith’s lights out performance.

The Mustangs managed to jump out in front of Louisville 14-5 early in the first half and held a double digit lead for most of the way.

Despite leading by as much as 14, Louisville took advantage of SMU turnovers and quickly got back into the game to only trail by 2 entering halftime. The Mustangs committed nine turnovers during the Cardinals run to close out the second half and finished the game with 23 total turnovers.

“It was a lack of mental toughness on our part,” SMU guard Nick Russell said. “That’s something that we know how we are supposed to beat it. Its simple, it was just a lack of communication. They did nothing special, its just all on us.”

Russell led the Mustangs and finished the night with 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Nic Moore, playing with a bum ankle, was sidelined for most of the second half as he picked up his fourth foul early in the final frame. As a result he only managed to score five points for the night.

“Ninety-nine percent of people [with a bad ankle] wouldn’t have played tonight,” Brown said. “I admire the heck the heck out of the fact that he gave it a try.”

SMU will conclude the 2013-14 regular season with its first of two trips to Memphis in a week. The Mustangs will take on No. 20/20 Memphis on Saturday at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN2. SMU will then head back to Memphis for the American Athletic Conference Championships. The Mustangs will have a bye into the quarterfinals, and will play their first game of the tournament on March 13.

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