No. 17 SMU beats South Florida 72-58 to improve to 13-0
DALLAS (AP) Larry Brown was back at home at SMU, while junior guard Keith Frazier was unexpectedly absent.
No. 17 SMU remained undefeated with a 72-58 victory over South Florida on Saturday with head coach Brown playing only seven players following Frazier's sudden departure.
In Brown's first home game of the season after serving a nine-game NCAA suspension, Nic Moore, Sterling Brown and Markus Kennedy led the balanced attack with 13 points each.
SMU improved to 13-0 - the best start in school history - and 2-0 in the American Athletic Conference. The Mustangs are one of three unbeaten Division I teams along with No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 24 South Carolina.
The Mustangs shot a season-low 41.1 percent. They went into the game averaging 83.8 points.
Brown said Frazier, from Dallas, told him he was leaving the team to deal with a personal issue. Frazier has averaged 28.8 minutes and 11.9 points, making 10 appearances and eight starts. Brown said he talked to Frazier and his mother and isn't sure if or when Frazier will return to the team.
''We're going to support him,'' Brown said.
The Mustangs' two substitutes outscored the Bulls' four-man bench 17-1. SMU had only one player commit more than two fouls, the Mustangs making 20 of 26 free throws to the Bulls' 8 of 11.
''We win because I think everybody defended and competed and made a contribution,'' Brown said.
Ben Moore had 12 points and 10 rebounds for SMU. He said it was great to have Brown back.
''He was the same ol' Coach Brown,'' Brown said. ''Calm. Trying to get us ready for the game.''
Jahmal McMurray led South Florida (3-12, 0-2) with 17 points. Chris Perry and Bo Zeigler added 12 each.
''They're undefeated for a reason,'' South Florida coach Orlando Antigua said. ''They share the ball. They move the ball. And they rebound the ball.''
South Florida cut it to 49-46 with 12:55 left in the second half on a driving dunk by Angel Nunez along the left baseline. But the Mustangs ran off the next 13 points over a period of almost 9 minutes to build a 62-46 lead and were never seriously threatened again.
''There were a couple of minutes there where we didn't finish our assignments out,'' said Antigua, who used a zone defense almost exclusively. ''We've got to stick with the things where we're having success. But SMU had a little something to do with that as well.''
CROSSING HIS FINGERS?
While Brown served the NCAA suspension, associate head coach Tim Jankovich, a Division I head coach for nine seasons before joining Brown at SMU in 2012, coached the Mustangs.
Brown wouldn't reveal any of the ''stupid'' superstitions that he observed while watching his SMU Mustangs' previous seven home games on television.
When the NCAA ruled in September that SMU was guilty of rules violations that included academic fraud and unethical conduct, it also barred the Mustangs from postseason play this season.
''I'm terrible; I don't even want to tell you,'' Brown said of his rituals. ''But I was more in awe of what was going on. Not a day goes by that I don't look at that group (of players) and think they weren't treated fairly.''
South Florida: The Bulls played their fifth game without point guard Roddy Peters, a transfer from Maryland who broke a foot Dec. 13. Peters is expected back in late February.
SMU: SMU's longest winning streak is 20 games, accomplished by the 1955-56 team that reached the national semifinals. ... SMU went into the game ranked fourth in Division I in 3-point percentage at 44.9, but hit only 6 of 23 for 26.1 percent.
South Florida: At UCF on Wednesday night.
SMU: Home against Cincinnati on Thursday night.