MUSTANGS CLIP THE EAGLES

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

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BY:  Dic Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU men’s basketball team beat Eastern Washington Saturday night in Moody Coliseum 77-68.  The win moved the Mustangs’ record to 2-2 for the season after they dropped road games to Gonzaga and Indiana earlier this week.  It was Eastern Washington’s first loss of the year after three wins.

SMU was a 15 point favorite on the betting line and seemingly took control of the game early by stepping out to a 24-12 lead in the first seven minutes.  However, the Eagles rallied back on the strength of seven three-point shots to cut the deficit to eight at halftime – 43-35.

The Mustangs again seemingly took control of the game for good with a 13-4 run over the first five plus minutes in the second half.  Keith Frazier put the offensive charge in the Ponies, as he scored nine of the 13 points.

The 17 point lead however, proved to be the largest of the game for SMU.  EWU battled back on the strength of the three point shots, and actually pulled to within five with 1:33 left in the game.  The Eagles got no closer though as the Mustangs were 6-6 from the free throw line over that final 1:33 to cap off the win.

For the game, SMU shot 49.1% from the field and made 15 of 16 free throws.  To add insult to injury, the Mustangs grabbed the rebound on the one miss and turned it into a basket.  SMU also out rebounded Eastern Washington 36-32, the third time in four games the Mustangs have grabbed more boards than their opponent.

Mustang point guard Nic Moore had his highest scoring game of the season as he led the Mustangs with 22 points.  Moore also had a game high and season high six assists.  Frazier finished with 17 points, his new career high.  Center Yanick Moreira also scored in double digits with 13.  Sterling Brown came off the bench to lead SMU and set a personal career high with 11 rebounds.

EWU’s Tyler Harvey led all scorers with 24 points, half of which came on three point shots.  The Eagles Venky Jois chipped in with a double-double.  He scored 13 points and led Eastern Washington with 10 rebounds.  Parker Kelly was also in double digits with 12 points.

The Mustangs were certainly impressed with EWU.  “That’s a good ballclub,” Moreira said.

Head Coach Larry Brown added, “They are really well coached.  They have great guards.”  He likened them to a European style team as 36 of their 60 shots were from behind the three-point line.  “I think this is a good win against a quality team.”

Brown was also pleased to see Frazier step up.  Frazier, the only McDonald’s High School All-American to play for the Ponies, hit seven of eight shots, including three of four from three-point land.  “We’ve got to realize when he’s in the game, and he’s open, you’ve got to get him the ball.  He shouldn’t be getting eight shots,” Brown said.  “He deserves more.  He’s our best shooter.”

The news wasn’t all good for SMU though.  Justin Martin left early in the second half and did not return with an apparent leg injury.  Brown said after the game that the severity of Martin’s injury had not been determined and that he would be examined on Sunday.  However, Brown is expecting that Martin will miss some games.  The Ponies strength on paper prior to the season was their depth.  They’ve already lost All-Conference performer Markus Kennedy to grade problems, but now with Martin’s injury, things have changed.

“We’ve gone from being real deep to having a short bench,” Brown noted.

The Mustangs next face Arkansas at Moody Coliseum on Tuesday.  Game time is 6:30 PM Central, and the game will be televised on ESPN News.  Arkansas beat the Ponies last year 89-78 in Fayetteville.  Tuesday’s game will be the 155th meeting between the former Southwest Conference foes.

AND ALSO:

  • The SMU Women also beat Eastern Washington 69-53 on Saturday afternoon.  Destynee Hives-McCray recorded a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, her second of the year to lead SMU.  SMU led wire to wire and held a 43-20 halftime lead before closing out the Eagles.  The Mustangs’ record improved to 2-2 with the win.  Eastern Washington fell to 1-2.
  • Saturday’s Men’s game was an official sellout with announced attendance of 6,852.
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