Mustangs end 5-0 winning streak to UALR
Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012 20:11
After dispatching Malone University 81-47 Monday, and Rider University 83-70 Wednesday, the SMU men (5-1) were unable to keep their perfect season intact.
The Mustangs lost to Arkansas-Little Rock (UALR) 69-56 in the Hoops for Hope Classic semifinal game.
Coming off its most impressive scoring performance, SMU was held below 60 points for the first time this season, despite owning a 33-32 lead after the first half of play on Saturday.
Junior forward Shawn Williams, a transfer from the University of Texas, continued his fast start with 15 points and 10 rebounds while fellow junior and Kansas State transfer Nick Russell and sophomore Cannen Cunningham also scored in the double-digits with 10 and 11 points respectively.
Even with four players scoring 10 points or more, the Mustangs could not stop the Trojans from doing the same.
UALR used a combination of Leroy Isler and Will Neighbour’s 30 points to move past the Mustangs on the team’s way to the finals against South Carolina.
SMU started the tournament well by scoring 164 points and holding its opponents to just 117 points in the first two games at Moody Coliseum.
Monday’s tournament opener against Malone proved to be SMU’s most dominant performance of the season thus far.
SMU outscored the Pioneers by 31 points — shooting over 57 percent and holding Malone to a season-low of 23.2 percent.
Sophomore guard Jalen Jones was the hero of the opening round.
Jones scored 20 points to go along with five rebounds in helping to build a 45-27 halftime lead and eventually a decisive win.
Three other players also scored in double figures and the Mustangs used the home-court advantage to out-rebound the opponent 38-34 and attempt 22 free throws to Malone’s 15.
Sophomore guard Ryan Manuel led all scorers in the Mustangs’ win against Rider with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Cunningham added 20 on just 10 attempts.
The entire team finished with eight of 11 made 3-pointers for a sizzling 72.7 percent.
SMU will play its final game of the tournament Sunday night at 6 p.m. in Puerto Vallarta, looking to take out its frustrations against Missouri State in the third- place match.