The post game: SMU vs ECU

Courtesy of AP
Courtesy of AP

Despite shooting the lights out of the XL Center, the ECU Pirates could not defeat SMU in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference. The final score was 74-68 and SMU advances to the semi finals tomorrow.

“Feel kind of fortunate we’re up here talking about playing tomorrow,” SMU head coach Larry Brown said. “[ECU was] well prepared. When a team shoots outside as well as they did, you’ve got to be pretty fortunate you’re going to move on. They got off to such a good start, I think last year we probably would have packed it in, but we’ve matured a little bit, and I think have handled adversity much better, and I truly believe that’s why we’re moving on. ”

Nic Moore lead all scorers with 20 points and Markus Kennedy added 15 off the bench.

ECU shot 44 percent from three point range. Every player that scored for the Pirates made a three and everyone who played attempted at least one.

“I think at the end of the game we had to get stops, like Coach Brown said, and I think we got those at the end of the game,” senior gurad Ryan Manuel said. “They were 15-35 from the 3-point line, but as Coach Brown said, we faced adversity and we got through it.”

The Pirates were led by Antonio Robinson who scored a career high 18 points.

The difference maker in this game was SMU’s defense and attacking offense.

SMU outscored ECU in the paint 44-16 and had 27 points off of turnovers. The Mustangs also had 17 fast break points.

“I think for the most part all our guys played pretty well,” Brown said. “We had a huge advantage inside. So much of it is because we lost Keith, we lost Justin, so many people pack it in. But with Nic, they extend, and I think they extended the zone to stop him and we had holes inside and we needed our bigs to play well and they did. And [Kennedy] was terrific.”

As a team the pirates shot 45 percent from the field 44 percent from three point range and committed 15 turnovers.

“Turnovers got us easy baskets,” Brown said. “Because their zone, when you realize a lot of our guards are reluctant to shoot the ball from outside and I’ve got to do a better job, Ben Emelogu never looked at the goals, Sterling never looked to take a shot outside, Ryan never did, but turnovers got us easy points and the biggest play of the game was Ben Moore. You never know what’s going to happen to a four point game that late, them fouling, Ben Moore gets a big steal so turnovers got us going and gave us a chance to win.”

The Mustangs shot 47 percent from the field, 33 percent from three-point range, had only nine turnovers and out rebounded the Pirates 34-27. This lead to SMU having 17 second chance points to ECU’s two.

SMU will play Temple tomorrow at 3 ET in the semifinals.

“When you take a team that I think won nine games last year and beat Kansas by whatever they beat them and played at such a high level, especially since he’s gotten those transfers, just tells you a little bit about what kind of coach he is and what kind of team they have,” said Brown. “They’re deep, they’ve got size, they’ve got a phenomenal point guard, so I think we’re just fortunate enough to play against a good basketball team, and I’m hopeful we’ll be ready to play.”

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