GARLAND, Texas -- Nic Moore hit all five of his 3-point attempts in the first half as SMU combined a long-distance barrage with inside domination to pull away early in its 88-59 rout of McNeese State Monday night.
Moore, a sophomore playing his first season for SMU (7-2) after transferring from Illinois State, didn't shoot again, hitting five of six overall, 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 shot only 13 free throws.
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.
Second-year Mustangs coach Larry Brown has often expressed his distaste for the 3-point shot despite the fact that he began his pro career in the American Basketball Association, which touted the shot as one of its selling points in competition with the established NBA.
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 from close range to take a 52-17 lead at intermission, which would equal its largest of the game.
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.
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.
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 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.
Isaiah Briscoe has decided to withdraw from the NBA draft and will return to Kentucky for his sophomore season. Marcus Lee intends to transfer.
The Big 12/SEC Challenge will again feature Kansas and Kentucky, this time at Rupp Arena. That's not the only exciting matchup in next season's midseason conference showdown.
Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament, but the Wildcats' upward trajectory suggests 2016-17 could finally be the season it happens.
|Stephen F. Austin||18-0||-||28-6|
|Sam Houston State||12-6||6||18-16|