Going into Wednesday night’s college basketball matchup, the Houston Cougars held a two-game lead atop the AAC standings. With SMU coming off a bad 72-57 loss to Wichita State, another loss to Houston would all but gift the AAC regular season crown to the Cougars. Instead, the Mustangs found some magic at Moody Coliseum and brought themselves to just a game behind Houston for the AAC lead.
The main question coming into this game revolved around just how good Houston and SMU were. Although Houston was undefeated in conference play, the loss of Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark has taken away some of their firepower. For SMU, although their top scorers have been solid, they haven’t always been consistent in showing up. After tonight’s game, more questions have popped up than answers.
SMU Basketball Upsets Houston, 85-83
Stars Aligning for SMU
When SMU basketball is on, they are one of the most talented offenses in the entire country. Michael and Marcus Weathers have truly come into their own while Kendric Davis continues to look like the best guard in the AAC. In a must-win game that they couldn’t afford to lose, they dug deep and got the job done.
The trio combined for 59 points, 17 rebounds, 16 assists, and five steals. They were efficient too, shooting 45% from the field and an absurd 54% from downtown. The Weathers twins and Davis showed that they are arguably the best trio in the AAC. They were calm in high-pressure situations and didn’t let the moment get to them.
For a team that is also on the bubble of the NCAA tournament, this win will have huge ramifications as long as they can take care of business from here on out. If even two of their big three can come to play each night, the Mustangs should have no problem.
Mustangs Defense Makes a Statement
Any team under Kelvin Sampson usually has one of the top defenses in the country. The Cougars possess one of the most dominant defenses in the country this season. On Wednesday night, however, SMU’s defense prevailed. If the Mustangs can continue to build on defensive showings like these, we might suddenly have a very tight race for the AAC title.
While SMU did give up 51 points in the first half and 83 for the game, their defense was solid most of the game. It just so happened to be a night where seemingly every shot was falling for Houston. In these types of games, it’s rare to see defenses continue to stay on it even when it seems pointless. SMU did just that however and eventually, when needed, were able to reap the rewards. At the end of the day, how your defense shows up when your backs are against the wall is all that matters.
On Wednesday, when SMU basketball needed it, their defense answered the bell, not Houston’s and that was the difference.