Moody Magic prevails as SMU dismantles Wolverines at home
The No. 19 SMU Mustangs (7-0) dominated the Michigan Wolverines (6-3) on Tuesday night at Moody Coliseum, cruising to an 82-58 victory.
The game started with a scare for the Mustangs. Senior forward Markus Kennedy was helped off the court by the training staff with an ankle injury.
The first half could not have gone any better for an SMU team without one of its leaders. The Mustangs played stifling defense, forcing two shot clock violations and holding Michigan to 22 points. The Wolverines shot just 33 percent and were 2-14 from the three point line.
SMU shot 56 percent and were led by senior transfer Jordan Tolbert who had 10 points and 5 rebounds. The Mustangs dominated the glass 29-12 and took a 36-22 lead into the half.
The second half was a continuation of the Mustangs dominance. Tolbert continued to own the paint, throwing down several highlight reel alley-oops and put-back dunks. He finished with 23 points by way of nine dunks and had 9 rebounds. Nic Moore and Keith Frazier were also in double figures, each adding 15 points. The Mustangs out-rebounded Michigan 45-20.
Every time the Wolverines looked to be gaining momentum, SMU would come up with a big play. Michigan could not consistently hit three pointers, going 10-36, and were challenged at the rim on interior looks. The Wolverines were led by Duncan Robinson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman who each had 15 points. Caris LeVert, arguably their best player, finished the game 1-13 from the field and 0-6 from outside.
When asked about Jordan Tolbert, Michigan Head Coach John Beilein said, “He was like a man playing with boys out there.” Beilein could not say enough about the Mustangs passers, calling them “skilled and willing.” “We’re not good. That team is good. That team in this place is as good as any team in the country,” he concluded.
SMU’s fill-in Head Coach Tim Jankovich said, “I respect our team so much right now. They were great tonight.” When asked about Caris LeVert’s off-night, Jankovich complimented Keith Frazier, saying, “Keith begged for that assignment and he played him great.”
Jordan Tolbert credited his teammates for the performance, refusing to bring any praise on himself. He did, however, say, “I’m always ready and I knew I had to step up,” when asked about Markus Kennedy’s injury.
The Mustangs will host Nicholls in their next game on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.