Mustangs fall to Alabama, sit at 4-10 in conference
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 19:03
Even though SMU shot close to 58 percent and held its opponents to 43 percent from the field against the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Mustangs fell on the road 69-74.
SMU drops to 14-15 on the season and a dismal 4-10 in Conference USA.
The Blazers’ Rod Rucker had his 10th double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds including a crucial late gamelay up.
SMU’s Nick Russell made a jumper with 1:48 to go to get the Mustangs to within one point, but Rucker and Jordan Swing made four free throws at the end to put the game out of reach for SMU.
Russell led the Mustangs with 14 points, four steals and five assists.
SMU also had trouble getting to the free throw line, taking just nine shots while UAB attempted 28 and made 75 percent of them. SMU’s Jalen Jones fouled out of his second straight game, this time with 4:13 to go in the game. Ryan Manuel also fouled out with ten seconds left to play.
Outside of the free throw discrepancy, the Mustangs held the Blazers in check for the majority of the game including containing UAB’s shooting to just 24-of-55 and 28 percent from behind the 3-point line.
The Mustangs went to guard Brian Bernardi off the bench who added seven points and a rebound in 20 minutes. Bernardi has played double-digit minutes in his last five games.
Coming out of high school, Bernardi was known as a pure shooter that could make his fair share of three-pointers, but the freshman went just 1-for-4 from three-point range and 2-for-5 overall.
Bernardi was not the only player that struggled, Jones fouled out, but he was also held to just eight points and two rebounds, well below his season average of 14.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Jones has been contained extremely well by the last two opponents SMU faced, scoring a combined thirteen points from a total of eight shots and six rebounds.
SMU will need more out of Jones and the rest of the starting cast if the team wants to make a surprise run in the C-USA Tournament in Tulsa, Okla.
SMU faces Tulsa for the second time this season after a 48-47 loss back in January. The Mustangs will look for revenge in Oklahoma on March 6, and then hosts UTEP in Garland to finish out their regular season with a chance to have a winning record on March 9.