Larry Brown, the only coach to ever win a NBA Championship and NCAA title, entered the game Sunday night in Moody Coliseum determined to gain a win with his new team, the SMU Mustangs.
Despite being out of the NCAA coaching world since 1988 after leading the Kansas Jayhawks to a NCAA title, it was clear after the Mustang’s performance Sunday night that Brown has definitely not lost his touch.
The SMU Mustangs came out with a bang in their season opener with each of their starters receiving double-digit figures in their points scored, ultimately leading to their victory over the LMU Lions 73-58.
Nick Russell, SMU junior led the team in scoring with 19 points, while sophomore Ryan Manuel followed close behind with 14 points.
SMU junior, Shawn Williams and sophomore, Jalen Jones also made contributions on offense. Williams scored 12 points, and Jones scored 11 points and secured 11 rebounds.
At 6’9” and 220 pounds, SMU sophomore, Cannen Cunningham proved his importance to the Mustangs by also scoring in the double-digit figures (10 points.)
SMU senior, London Giles also accounted for seven of the Mustang’s points.
For LMU, junior, Anthony Ireland led the team against SMU accounting for 17 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists.
LMU senior, Ashley Hamilton and junior, Ayodeji Egbeyemi also attempted to keep the Lions score close with the Mustangs, with 16 points from Hamilton and 14 points from Egbeyemi.
LMU freshman, Nick Stover and juniors, Godwin Okonji and Alex Osborne also accounted for points put on the board for the Lions.
Although the Lions were not able to take the lead over SMU Sunday night, they worked well to stay neck and neck with the Mustangs throughout the beginning of the first half.
The Lions closest attempt to take the lead from the Mustangs occurred after a foul on Russell, leading to two free throws completed by Ireland bringing the game to a tie of 17-17.
SMU quickly answered back with two free throws from Manuel, and then another immediate three-point jumper by Williams.
The LMU Lions struggled to keep up, as they only scored nine more points in the half. The Mustangs continued moving the ball down the court with ease as Williams and Russell took full control of the scoreboard for the continuation of the half, ending it with a lead of 35-26.
In the second half, the SMU Mustangs struggled to connect on field goals, only connecting on nine of the 27 in the game, but refused to fall behind.
The LMU Lions continued to have trouble keeping possession of the ball in the second half; they committed 7 turnovers in each half.
SMU started off the second half with two free throws made by Manuel, after LMU sophomore, Chase Flint received his second foul for the night.
The Lions managed to score the majority of their points in the second half, with Hamilton scoring 10 of the 32 points made, but it was not be enough to keep up with the consistency of the Mustangs.
SMU scored 20 of their 38 points in the second half on free throws from Manuel, Russell, Jones, and Cunningham.
Hamilton scored the final point of the game just prior to the Lions final timeout, ultimately ending the game and giving the SMU Mustangs their first victory of the season with a score of 73-58 over the LMU Lions.
LMU head coach, Max Good, took four timeouts throughout the game while Brown only used two timeouts for SMU.
LMU (1-1) will face CS Bakersfield (0-2) Saturday night in an away game in Icardo Center, while SMU (1-0) will take on rival school TCU (2-0) Thursday night in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in the Horned Frog’s territory.
TCU will be coming off of two wins against Cal Poly (0-1) and Centenary (0-1) into their game this week against SMU.
The SMU Mustang’s average points per game, individual player points, rebounds, and assists are better than the Horned Frog’s so far this season. Last year, SMU defeated TCU in a close game of 68-62 in Moody Coliseum.
THIS POST WAS CONTRIBUTED BY COURTNEY MAE SCHELLIN