GAME NOTES: Crosstown rivals square off at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday night, as the SMU Mustangs tangle with the TCU Horned Frogs.
Hoping to improve upon its 13-18 record from a year ago, SMU made a huge splash in the offseason by bringing in Larry Brown as its new head coach. The Hall-of-Famer, who hadn't coached in the college ranks since winning a national title with Kansas back in 1988, won his debut for the Mustangs on Sunday, defeating Loyola Marymount in a 73-58 final. The Ponies have now won 14 of their last 17 home openers.
TCU has started its 2012-13 campaign off on the right foot with a pair of home wins against Cal Poly (53-46) and Centenary College (75-47). First-year head coach Trent Johnson may not be the household name Brown is, but his start has been just as impressive. He is the first Horned Frogs head coach to win his first two games since Billy Tubbs accomplished the feat in 1994. The Frogs are in the midst of a five-game homestand to begin the year.
These two teams have nearly 100 years of history together as conference foes in both the Southwest Conference and the Western Athletic Conference. In 187 meetings, TCU owns a 102-85 advantage.
SMU jumped out to an 11-point halftime lead over Loyola Marymount in the opener and never looked back. And although it shot just 39.3 percent from the floor, it attempted 10 more field goals than its opponent and drained 25-of-30 shots from the charity stripe. It also took advantage of 14 offensive rebounds, turning them into 12 second-chance points. For the first time since November of 2010, the Mustangs had five players score in double figures, led by Nick Russell with 19 points. Ryan Manuel was dreadful from the field (1- of-9), but thanks to a solid night at the stripe (12-of-15), he finished with 14 points, and he also dished out a team-high four assists. Jalen Jones tallied a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. As the leading scorer returning from last year's squad (8.0 ppg), Jones will be looked to as one of the go-to guys this winter. Shawn Williams (12 points, seven rebounds) and Cannen Cunningham (10 points) rounded out a successful night for the starting five.
After struggling to put up points in its opener, TCU enjoyed 56.4 percent field goal shooting on Monday night while holding Centenary to just as many field goals as turnovers (17). Adrick McKinney played just 14 minutes in the contest but made the most of it with 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Connell Crossland did not start the game but he nonetheless tallied a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kyan Anderson scored 10 points and dished out for assists, and through two games he is the Horned Frogs leading scorer with 11.5 ppg. Jarvis Ray rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11 points. Armic Fields scored 9.6 ppg last season as the Mountain West Conference's Sixth Man of the Year, but he is now firmly entrenched in the starting lineup and has put up 22 points on 64.3 percent shooting in the first two contests.
It's still way too early to judge, but it at least seems that SMU is heading in the right direction with Brown at the helm. The Mustangs will have their hands full on the road in this one however, as TCU has the more established playmakers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: TCU 68, SMU 65
11/15 10:34:33 ET
Copyright ??2010 Athlon Sports, Inc. Athlon Sports and the Athlon Sports logo are trademarks of Athlon Sports, Inc. | About Us