Mustangs beat LMU in Brown’s debut
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
The much anticipated premiere of the Larry Brown era began Sunday night in front of an ecstatic crowd of 3,578. The Mustangs started the 2012-2013 campaign with a 73-58 victory against the Loyola Marymount Lions in Moody Coliseum.
“We had great support from the people in the crowd,” coach Brown said. “It was a great effort from our guys on the court. We beat a darn good team tonight.”
SMU started strong, gathering a slim 17-15 lead midway through the first half behind baskets by Shawn Williams and Nick Russell.
The two dynamic juniors combined for 20 of the team’s 35 first half points and helped the Mustangs shoot near 45 percent in the opening 20 minutes.
Russell and Williams contributed heavily for the Mustangs’ cause, scoring 19 and 12 points respectively to go a long with 12 rebounds between the two.
Shooting was certainly on the Mustangs’ side in the first half, as the team also shot 67 percent from beyond the three-point line, while holding the Lions to 25 percent from deep. SMU went into the break with a 35-26 edge.
The pressure kept up in the second half for SMU.
Brown’s squad made both of its first two attempts from the field and expanded the lead to 13 at 39-26.
LMU battled back to within 8 points at 48-40 at the halfway mark of the second period, after back-to-back threes by Lions’ guard Anthony Ireland and Ayodeji Egbeyemi, before the Mustangs distanced themselves with more foul shots.
“That’s one thing [Brown] stresses — getting to the foul line as much as possible,” Williams said.
After the Lions cut the score down to as little as six with over seven minutes remaining in the game, SMU center Cannen Cunningham answered with two buckets on two possessions to end any real threat of a comeback for Marymount.
Cunningham did all of his scoring in the second half, contributing 10 points to go along with four rebounds and one block.
Sophomore Ryan Manuel also scored 14 points for the Mustangs and sophomore Jalen Jones finished with a double-double — 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Nick Russell, a junior transfer from Kansas State, added 19 points to the Mustang victory.
SMU reached double bonus with less than 4 minutes left in the game and was able to add to their total of 30 free throw attempts, 24 coming in the second half, and cruised to the 73-58 win.
“We had great support from our school and our hometown tonight,” guard Jalen Jones said. “I think we can win a lot of games with this crowd.”
The Mustangs will hope to keep their winning ways alive under Larry Brown as they take on the Horned Frogs of TCU Thursday at 7 p.m. in Fort Worth.
TCU is also coming off a opening victory against Cal-Poly and hosts Centenary College Monday at 5 p.m.