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SMU Daily Campus


Moody Coliseum reopening double-header: men upset Connecticut, women fall to USF

It was a tale of two halves for the SMU men’s basketball team when they faced Connecticut in the first game in the newly renovated Moody Coliseum.

Luckily for the Mustangs – and the sellout crowd of 7,166 fans on hand – SMU had the advantage in the second half, upsetting the 17th ranked Huskies 74-65.

SMU went into the locker room at the half down 33-32 after seven turnovers and Connecticut converting those turnovers into 11 points to make SMU fans uneasy. Still, SMU tightened up in the second half.

The rowdy crowd urged the Mustangs on, and with sophomore Nic Moore leading the way with 20 points and six assists while leading SMU players with 35 minutes, SMU was able to control the tempo of the game.

“I was excited,” Moore said. “Our guys were just executing when we needed to and I felt like they were giving me enough space where I could get my shot off so I was just shooting and being comfortable.”

In the second half, Moore saw Connecticut assign a defender to him, but even though he only scored five points, he had four of his six assists in the second.

Senior Nick Russell picked up the slack and rebounded from a couple tough games with his best game of the season by adding 11 of his 14 points in the second half.

“I feel like the fans appreciated what we did here,” Russell said. “I feel like every game will be a big game. Every game will be a packed crowd ready to see good basketball, and that’s what we’ll try to give them.”

SMU turned the tide by forcing turnovers, scoring 12 points off of turnovers and the SMU bench came alive with 20 of the bench’s 22 points in the second.

Standouts from the bench were freshman guard Keith Frazier, who had seven points, and sophomore forward Markus Kennedy, who totaled eight points and five rebounds in the second.

Defensively, SMU dominated Connecticut guard and Naismath Player of the Year hopeful Shabazz Napier, who didn’t score a field goal until about 10 minutes left in the game. Napier finished with 12 points coming mostly from free throws, five rebounds and five assists.

SMU came into the game ranked second nationally in field goal defense and held UConn to 36.7 percent shooting well below its season average of 47.2 percent in the Mustangs’ first win over a ranked opponent since 2003.

The Mustangs have a week off before taking on defending national champion Louisville on the road on Jan. 12 at 12 p.m. CT.

The 57-year old Moody Coliseum reopened its doors Saturday after a $47 million renovation that kept SMU playing six non-conference home games in Garland. The renovation includes a new main entry lobby, raised ceilings, club seats, loge boxes, private suites, new locker rooms and more.

Women Fall to USF; Simpson Reaches 1,000 Career Points

After the SMU men’s team triumphed over Connecticut in the team’s biggest win in a decade, the women’s team fell to South Florida 76-62 in their American Athletic Conference home opener.

Akil Simpson scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the contest, becoming the 21st Mustang to reach 1,000 career points, but the Bulls dropped SMU to 1-2 in AAC play so far this season.

Keena Mays led the way from SMU, adding 26 points, eight rebounds and four steals, but the Mustangs shot just 32.8 percent from the field, which contributed to SMU being down by double-digits for much of the beginning of the second half.

SMU closed within four with 12 minutes left in the game with a Mays basket, but the Bulls went on a 9-0 run over the next 3:12 to get the lead back to 13. The Bulls made 22 free throws during the game and shot over 44 percent from the field during the game.

Korina Baker added seven points and Mallory Singleton scored five points and got four rebounds, but the Bulls’ balanced scoring with four players in double-digits, were too much to overcome for SMU.

The Mustangs face Memphis at home on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. CT at Moody Coliseum in another AAC matchup.

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