MUSTANGS TROUNCE TIGERS

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2016

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BY: Dic Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – SMU bounced back nicely from their first loss of the season with an easy 80-68 win over the Memphis Tigers. The Mustangs came out with good energy, ran the lead into double digits in the first eight minutes, and were never in danger of being overtaken the rest of the way. The win runs SMU’s record to 19-1 overall and 8-1 in the American Athletic Conference at the halfway point of conference play. Memphis is now 13-8 and 4-4.

Ben Moore scored 10 points, while Nic Moore and Sterling Brown added nine points each to lead the Mustangs to a 39-27 halftime lead. Memphis was in foul trouble as the Mustangs attacked the basket. SMU made 17 free throws in the half, while Memphis shot just seven. The Ponies defense held the Tigers to a 23.7% shooting percentage, compared to 41.7% for SMU. The Mustangs also dominated the boards 29-17.

“First half we were great,” Head Coach Larry Brown said. “We defended, we rebounded, shared the ball, got to the free throw line. I think it was one of our better halves this season. I think that was really a key. We limited them to one shot, mostly outside shots.”

“The first half, we got down 12 and that was the ball game,” Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner said. “It was too much of a hole to dig out of. We missed some key defensive rebounds, and we just didn’t finish around the hoop.”

In the second half, the lead grew to 25 points over the first 6-1/2 minutes, and the rout was on. However, the Mustangs seemed to lose focus at that point and play was sloppy for the rest of the game. The outcome was never in doubt, but Memphis cut the lead to as few as 10 points before settling for the 12 point loss, as the teams played to a 41-41 second half tie.

Brown was not pleased with the second half. “I’m not a happy camper right now,” he said. “They were in the bonus after three minutes. We thought we were in a track meet. That’s the tempo they (Memphis) want to play. I didn’t think we played with a lot of discipline in the second half.”

SMU had four players reach double digits in scoring for the 17th time this season. Nic Moore led with 22. Shake Milton had 15, and Ben Moore and Sterling Brown chipped in with 12 each. The Mustangs’ final rebound margin was plus 16 at 51-35. Jordan Tolbert led the way with 14, and Markus Kennedy also recorded a double digit total with 10.

Memphis also had four players score in double digits. Shaq Goodwin put in 18, followed by Jeremiah Martin with 11 and Avery Woodson and Ricky Tarrant, Jr. with 10 each. Dedric Lawson pulled down 13 rebounds, more than a third of the Tigers’ total for the game.

Pastner summed up SMU saying, “They’re a very good team. They’re very well coached, and they’re a veteran team. This (Moody Coliseum) is a tough place to play.”

With the win, the Mustangs hold a two game lead in the conference standings over Tulsa and Cincinnati, both at 6-3. Temple, Connecticut and Central Florida also have three losses.

SMU has a quick turnaround playing Monday night in Houston against UH. Houston beat East Carolina in double overtime Saturday to improve to 15-6 for the season and 5-4 in conference play. Game time is 7:00 PM (Central), and the game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

AND ALSO:

  • SEEN AT THE GAME: Former NBA player Rasheed Wallace, who played for Larry Brown in Philadelphia. SMU Head Football Coach Chad Morris and his family. Former SMU basketball player on the 1956 Final Four team – Rich Herrscher. Herrscher also pitched in the Major Leagues for the 1962 New York Mets.
  • The win was SMU’s 15th consecutive at Moody Coliseum, which ties the school record for consecutive home wins.
  • Courland Sutton, an outstanding wide receiver on the SMU football team, was in uniform for the Mustangs, but did not see action in the game. He’s listed at 6’-4”, 215.
  • The coaching staffs on both teams participated in the Coaches vs. Cancer “Suits and Sneakers” promotion, wearing tennis shoes with suits to raise awareness.
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