SMU coasts past Temple 75-52

Published: Feb 07, 2014 03:04am EST
By Michael Owen, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Feb 07, 2014 @ 03:04am EST


DALLAS -- Mustang Junior and Philadelphia product Markus Kennedy scored 14 points and added 9 rebounds to lead SMU past his hometown Temple Owls 75-52 Thursday night at Moody Coliseum in a sold out game despite, very cold and snowy conditions in the Dallas area. 

The win, their 7th in the last eight moved the Mustangs (18-5 total, 7-3 in the American Athletic Conference) into a 3rd place tie with Memphis while Temple (6-14, 1-7) dropped their 10th game in their last 11.

Shawn Williams added 14 points for the Mustangs while Ben Moore added 10 points and 6 boards off the bench.

Temple's Dalton Pepper led all scorers with 15 points in the losing cause. Owl season scoring leaders Will Cummings and Quenton DeCosey, who came into the game averaging 32 points per game combined, were held to only 16.

SMU dominated this game from beginning to end as Kennedy scored 8 of the Mustangs first 10 points helping push them to an early 18-8 lead and they never looked back.  In what could have been a trap game for SMU with a big matchup against #7 Cincinnati on Saturday, the Mustangs had a strong showing and never trailed.

"This was not a typical Temple performance, but we got a win." Mustang coach Larry Brown said after the game, "I think we were all concerned about it because everybody I talked to today was talking about Saturday".

Senior forward Shawn Williams said "We took the game very seriously because it was similar to what happened to us at South Florida", referring to a 78-71 loss that proceeded a big game against a then #22 Memphis. "We didn't want to have a repeat of that, so this was a game we took very seriously."

Freshman and 6th man, Ben Moore agreed, "Coach Brown said we couldn't lose focus and had to pay attention to the game upcoming, approach it like any other game and get the win"

Defense, as it has all season, was one of the main factors in the win. The Ponies went into the game ranked third in the nation in field goal defense at 37.2% and that form held true as they held the Owls to 30.3% on 20 for 66 shooting . SMU also outscored Temple 40-22 in the paint, held the edge in second chance points 18-10 and outrebounded Temple 42-36, winning the rebounding margin for the 20th time in 23 games.

Despite weather in the low 20's and snow throughout the Metroplex, Mustang students and fans were in full force Thursday night. Undefeated at 12-0 in home games this season including 6-0 at newly renovated Moody, the Coliseum had a special feel to it as many local (and non local) celebs were present.  Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders was with his former manager and current Oriole skipper Buck Showalter, SMU grad and Kansas City Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt sat courtside along with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Dallas Maverick center Samuel Dalembert (who was drafted by the Larry Brown and the Sixers in 2001) were also in attendance, while Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo sat courtside with Head Coach Jason Garrett,.

"Jason called me yesterday" Coach Brown said of the Cowboy Head Coach. "I was thrilled to have him there".

The Ponies can expect more of the same Saturday when #7 Cincinnati, who rallied to beat UConn 63-58 on Thursday, visits Moody as the Ponies continue in their quest to earn their first NCAA berth since 1993.

Coach Brown, reflecting on the atmosphere at home said,"I think we're all awestruck by this environment now. It was a bad day in Dallas" Brown said, acknowledging the weather, "but to see that kind of environment when everybody is thinking about Saturday, it's a pretty special place to be".

After years of mediocrity SMU Basketball is on the rise.  They are quickly proving that hiring Brown was no publicity stunt, but rather pure genius as they put their program back on the map. "There's no reason why we can't be a premier program", the 73 year old Hall of Fame Coach said. "We've just got to have people believe in what we're doing".

With a few more wins and a trip to The Dance, it will be hard not to. 



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