Despite playing most of the game without injured senior center Markus Kennedy, No. 19 SMU thoroughly outplayed Michigan for an impressive 82-58 home victory.
The Mustangs led the final 31 minutes of the game as Jordan Tolbert gave a huge lift with 23 points and nine rebounds as he went 11-for-12 from the field. SMU also had 15 points from senior guard Nic Moore and junior wing Keith Frazier as the Mustangs shot 57 percent (31-for-54) from the field and 53 percent (8-for-15) from 3-point range.
Playing without injured starting point guard Derrick Walton Jr., Michigan (6-3) struggled to find itself on offense as senior Caris LeVert played one of the worst games of his college career. LeVert started the game 0-for-11 from the field and finished with five points and three assists on 1-for-13 shooting. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Duncan Robinson led the Wolverines with 15 points on the night.
Considering that SMU (7-0) has no postseason to play for and they’re playing for interim head coach Tim Jankovich, this was a very impressive home win. The Mustangs still have a ton of pride when they take the floor and they’re looking like major contenders in the American despite that postseason ban. Moore is as tough as it gets when it comes to senior floor leaders and he’s not afraid to take and make big shots.
If Frazier is shooting well and someone like Tolbert steps up in Kennedy’s place, SMU is going to be tough to beat, especially at Moody Coliseum.
As for Michigan, they clearly need to get a healthy Walton back in the lineup as soon as possible because when he’s been missing with injury the last two seasons, the Wolverines haven’t been nearly the same team. LeVert clearly struggled with the defense focusing on him and he needs more help on the wing as well.
Kennedy sprained his ankle in the win for SMU and it is uncertain when he will return to the lineup. Even though Kennedy didn’t play for the Mustangs, they outrebounded Michigan 45-20 for the contest.