SMU 8-1 after Hofstra victory
Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012
Updated: Sunday, December 2, 2012 18:12
The SMU men’s basketball team continued its winning ways with a 73-47 victory over Hofstra University on Saturday in what was a homecoming of sorts for head coach Larry Brown.
Hofstra, located in Hempstead, N.Y., is about 20 miles from Brown’s hometown of Brooklyn. Brown also spent time in New York as head coach of the Knicks (2005 to 2006) and the Nets (1981 to 1983).
Hofstra was without two key starters and two of its top reserves as the four players were suspended from all university activities due to arrests on burglary charges earlier in the week.
“[To ] lose starters and key guys, it’s kind of sad because I watched film and they were a well-coached team,” Brown told SMU Athletics. “So hopefully they can get other kids to step up.”
At the half, the Mustangs led by 12 in large part because of Hofstra’s poor shooting rate of 21.9 percent.
The team’s shooting woes continued in the second half allowing the lead to balloon up to 27 points with 12 minutes left in the game. Hofstra finished with a shooting percentage of 25.9 while SMU shot 47.5 from the field.
The Mustangs jumped out in front early — scoring the first 10 points of the game and leading by 19 points on two occasions.
Led by SMU guard Nick Russell’s 20 points, the Mustangs had four players (including Russell) double-digit scoring for the fifth time this season. Jalen Jones added 14 and Cannen Cunnigham and Shawn Williams had 10.
“Nick Russell controlled the game,” Brown said. “he played well and we got everyone in the game and that’s fun.”
Jones tallied up 12 boards and Williams had 10 to give each of them a double-double and mark the first time SMU has had two players with a double-double in a game since 2010.
SMU guards Brian Bernardi and Ryan Manuel had career highs, scoring eight points each. Jone’s double-double was the third of his career. He is also the first mustang since Papa Dia (2010 to 2011) to have back-to-back double-doubles.
Williams’ double-double was the second of his career. It was the third time this season that Russell scored 20 or more points and the seventh time of 10 or more. Russell also had a career-high four steals.
The game marked the first time the two teams have ever played each other and the first game SMU has played in New York since the ‘50s.
The victory was the largest road win against a division team since a 68-40 win against Centenary in 2006.
SMU now moves to 8-1, which is its best start since the 2006 to 2007 season (9-1).
“I’m not concerned about [our next game],” Brown said. “I’m concerned about the kids doing well academically and that’s real important. You know I don’t think people realize the work load these kids have, but we get a lot of support at school and that’s kind of neat.”
The Mustangs will visit Rhode Island for the team’s next matchup on Dec.15.