SMU dominates McNeese State for 88-59 win
GARLAND, Texas (AP) — SMU's Nic Moore hit all five of his 3-point attempts in the first half and missed only one field-goal attempt as the Mustangs opened a 37-point lead in an 88-59 victory over McNeese State on Monday night. And that was the last thing about Moore's game that SMU coach Larry Brown wanted to discuss afterward.
"I couldn't care less about a guy making open shots," said Brown, the Hall of Fame coach in his second season at SMU. "He guarded. And by guarding, he gave us an opportunity to make some easy baskets. Pushed it better. I'd have been happy if he'd gone 0-for-5."
Moore, a sophomore playing his first season for SMU (7-2) after transferring from Illinois State, didn't shoot again in the second half and scored a team-high 15 points.
The visiting Cowboys (2-6) were led by Ledrick Eackles, son of former NBA veteran Ledell Eackles, with 21 points.
SMU hit 10 3-pointers, one short of its season high, in 14 tries - and oddly nearly equaled those numbers at the free-throw line: 10 of 13. Brown cited McNeese State's 2-3 zone defense as the reason his Mustangs fired away more than usual, especially during the first half.
McNeese State, which came in averaging 23 3-point attempts per game, went 10 for 34 behind the arc and hit 20 of 61 field-goal attempts to shoot 32.8 percent.
Moore opened the scoring with a 3-pointer as SMU burst from the gate to a 15-5 lead. He added three more during a 15-0 Mustangs run that left the hosts with a 30-7 lead with 8:21 to play before halftime. SMU continued to connect from both long distance and close range to take a 52-17 lead at intermission. McNeese fell behind by as many as 37 points but changed defenses in the second half and outscored SMU 42-36.
The Mustangs out-rebounded the Cowboys 42-25 and outscored them in the paint 34-14. The inside-outcome combination allowed SMU to shoot 59.6 percent.
"They're very difficult to get anything inside on because of their length," McNeese State coach Dave Simmons said. "But we didn't quit. We fought back. That was the biggest thing."
The wide margin of SMU's advantage enabled Mustangs freshman reserve Ben Moore to draw guffaws from the bench when he went to initially report in with about six minutes to play in the half to discover he'd forgotten to put on his game jersey. He subsequently earned a cheer from the crowd when he emerged from the dressing room minutes later and raced back to the scorer's table.
That was a first for Brown.
"I had one guy who forgot his britches," he said. "A lot of guys in the NBA figure they're not getting in so they don't want to shower."
The victory was Brown's 199th in nine seasons as a collegiate head coach to go with 1,198 in the NBA, 429 in the old ABA and 29 for USA Basketball. He'll aim at No. 200 on Wednesday night when the Mustangs play at Illinois-Chicago.
The game was the fifth of nine consecutive played on either road or neutral courts for the Cowboys.