Kent State had its chances, but there's a reason SMU is undefeated. The Golden Flashes found that out the hard way -- falling to the Mustangs 90-74 Tuesday in celebrated coach Larry Brown's return.
The game was part of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic, which began last week.
Brown returned after serving a nine-game suspension from the NCAA to start the season. The 18th-ranked Mustangs (10-0) won all of them.
Meanwhile, the Flashes (7-3) kept things relatively close in the first half despite their inability to take care of the ball. They trailed just 52-47 early in the second half.
"Coach Brown is one of the best of all-time," Kent State coach Rob Senderoff said. "I thought they played well and we didn't particularly play well. We knew they were going to play well with coach Brown coming back. We know they are going to have a great season, but we came here to win."
Jaylin Walker led Kent State with 20 points, and Jimmy Hall added 13.
The Mustangs were paced by 25 points from guard and All-American candidate Nic Moore.
Brown was suspended after the NCAA ruled in September that a former men's basketball administrative assistant completed online course work for a student to meet eligibility requirements. But he alone wasn't the reason Kent State lost.
"We didn't do the job we needed to do down low," Senderoff said. "They are also great at taking care of the ball."
SMU faces to the championship game Wednesday to face Colorado. Kent plays Penn State in the consolation game.
-- Sam Amico