The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Men’s basketball loses in AAC Tournament opener

Markus Kennedy dunks a basket off an alley-oop. Photo credit: Ryan Miller

As Charles Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

For SMU, who lost 68-64, it was a tale of two halves. It was a tale of two Nic Moores.

After losing two straight ball games, the SMU faithful were looking for a sign of life from the Mustangs to start the American Athletic Conference Tournament.

Against Houston, the SMU Mustangs did just that in the first half.

On the first two Houston possessions, SMU forced turnovers and got points on the other end, taking a quick 4-0 lead.

However, similar to the second matchup of the season between these two squads, Houston refused to go away.

L.J. Rose and Jherrod Stiggers led the way for Houston in the first half with 23 combined points on 9-14 shooting, 5-7 from behind the arc. Between the two, they always hit a shot to keep Houston alive.

SMU had its own first-half dynamic duo, though: Cannen Cunningham and Nick Russell. And while Moore didn’t score in the first half, his five assists fueled the Mustangs.

Cunningham was a force inside during the first half, as he scored 12 points, 4-4 from the charity stripe, to lead the Mustangs.

Houston kept it close, and even had the lead a couple times with about six minutes to go in the half. That’s when Russell decided to take over.

Russell scored all eight of his first-half points in under three minutes, and pushed the Mustangs to a 38-29 halftime lead.

However, Houston came out in the second half with something to prove.

Their defense caused SMU to take, and miss, far too many outside jumpers. In taking the outside jumpers, SMU got away from everything they’d done well in the first half, and they never got back to it.

Even when the Mustangs decided to drive it and get to the free throw line, they were missing shots. Until Markus Kennedy’s meaningless three at the end of the game, they went without a field goal in the final six-plus minutes.

SMU had a chance at the end.

With 17 second left, and down by three, Kennedy had a chance for a lay-up, but was blocked by TaShawn Thomas. When Danuel House hit his free throws, SMU’s number was up.

Perhaps the biggest stat that stood out was Moore’s field goal line: 0-9. When your star point guard can’t get a shot to go down, it’s hard to win.

To sum up the game, a straightforwardly morose Larry Brown simply said, “We got outplayed.”

After losing three straight, the SMU Mustangs season ended prematurely. However, it’s not all over yet. They wait for their hopeful seeding from the selection committee. With their hometown faithful waiting by their side at Moody Coliseum, they’ll find out on Sunday.

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