DALLAS (AP) SMU didn’t seem to miss Emmanuel Mudiay or Markus Kennedy in the season opener.
Ben Moore scored a career-high 22 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists to help the 22nd ranked Mustangs beat Lamar 93-54 on Friday night.
Mudiay is playing overseas in China for the Guangdong Tigers after deciding to play professional last summer instead of enroll at SMU. Kennedy sat on the bench in street clothes with no official world when he could become eligible.
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”We expected to have Emmanuel and Markus, but we’re going to just learn from this,” SMU coach Larry Brown said. ”I’m anxious to see how we compete, and I’m hopeful we’ll be prepared to play.”
Brown had planned to play Moore, a 6-foot-8 sophomore who made one start as a freshman, more on the perimeter this season.
”Now we’re short-handed up front. He was great,” Brown said. ”We’re going to need him. I thought all our big guys offensively were really good.”
Mustangs senior Cannen Cunningham said of Moore: ”I don’t want to put any pressure on him, but you could get used to that.”
Moreira, a 6-11 senior, was limited to 23 games and 14 starts in 2013-14 by a knee injury. Last summer, he played for the Angola national team at the World Cup in Spain and recorded two double-doubles.
Lamar was led by Anthony Holliday with 12 points. The Cardinals were limited to 31.4 percent shooting from the floor, 5-for-20 on three-pointers.
”We got overwhelmed,” said Lamar coach Tic Price, who took over the Cardinals with 10 games to play last season after Pat Knight was fired. ”They’re long, athletic. If you don’t get back, they’ll blow you out of the gym. It was up close and personal for us tonight.”
SMU burst to a 15-5 lead before Lamar closed the gap to 20-14 midway through the half. A three-pointer by Justin Martin then sparked the Mustangs to a 21-2 run over the next 6 1/2 minutes as SMU eased to a 46-20 lead at intermission. The Mustangs led by as many as 43 in the second half.
”I don’t like games like that,” Brown said.
SMU: Friday’s home opener was a sellout, giving the Mustangs sellouts in 10 of 14 games played at Moody Coliseum since the beginning of last season. ”Coach Brown, his staff, his players have created a buzz here,” Price said.
Lamar: Five of the Cardinals’ 13 players are junior-college transfers. They should get acquainted on the road with Lamar playing seven of its first eight away from home.
SMU visits No. 13 Gonzaga on Monday.
Lamar hosts NAIA LSU-Alexandria on Sunday
SMU home games last season attracted local celebrities like Jason Garrett and Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Friday night’s headliner was SMU alum and actor Brian Baumgartner from ”The Office,” grand marshal of Saturday’s homecoming parade.
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The Philadelphia 76ers, one of 10 pro teams that Brown has coached, came through Dallas on Thursday night and lost by 53 points to the Mavericks to remain winless. ”I just want to see them win,” Brown said. ”That city was great to me. I love (Sixers coach) Brett Brown. I don’t want to see what he’s going through.”