Sterling performance by SMU's Brown leads rout of Memphis
Sterling performance by SMU's Brown leads rout of Memphis
- Sterling performance by SMU's Brown leads rout of Memphis
Published On: Sat, Mar 04
Dec 14, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard Sterling Gibbs (4) shoots over St. Peter's Peacocks center Quadir Welton (35) during the first half at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
DALLAS -- Southern Methodist coach Tim Jankovich wanted badly for Saturday's final home game to be the perfect sendoff for his seniors. Boy did he get his wish.
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No. 14 SMU handed Memphis its worst loss since 1947 in a 103-62 rout that also clinched sole ownership of the American Athletic Conference regular season title.
"What a great day in Dallas," Jankovich said. "It could not have been scripted better. It could not have gone better. I'm just happy for everybody."
Senior guard Sterling Brown led SMU with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Forward Semi Ojeleye scored 19 for SMU, followed by forward Ben Moore with 16 and guard Jarrey Foster with 16.
SMU (27-4, 17-1) already had clinched a share of the AAC title with a 93-70 win over Tulsa on Thursday.
Saturday's win gave SMU a perfect 18-0 home record this season and extended its winning streak at Moody Coliseum to 22 straight games.
The Mustangs enter next week's AAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed. SMU is on a 13-game winning streak and has won 23 of their last 24.
Not bad for a team that has just seven scholarship players and started the season 4-3.
"I think we might have surprised a few people but not ourselves," Moore said. "We weren't looking too good at first. I'm glad we came together and fought through the season and got this championship. I don't think we're going to surprise any more people now, but hopefully we do."
Memphis was led by forward Dedric Lawson's 13 points. However, the highest-scoring team in the AAC (75 points per game) was no match for an SMU team that leads the conference in scoring defense (59.3 ppg).
"I don't think our guys quit at all," Memphis coach Tubby Smith said. "They just out-played us in every category, pretty much."
Memphis (19-12, 9-9 in AAC) can finish as either the fifth or sixth seed in the AAC Tournament, depending upon the results of Sunday's games.
SMU led by 24 at halftime and then outscored Memphis 19-4 to open the second half.
The Mustangs' lead grew to 48 points, 81-33, with 11 minutes left when Brown scored off a backcourt steal.
Smith likened SMU's offensive attack to an NBA team.
"They spread the floor so well," Smith said. "And they can all penetrate and they can all shoot it."
He said Memphis tried a combination of zone defenses and man-to-man pressure to slow down SMU.
"Nothing was working," Smith said. "They put on a clinic."
Memphis missed its first 14 attempts from 3-point range. Guard Jeremiah Martin hit the Tigers' first 3-pointer with 12:34 left in the second half.
Martin finished with 12 points and five assists, while Memphis was 4 of 26 from 3-point range.
In front of a packed and boisterous crowd on Senior Day, SMU ran away from Memphis from the start. A 15-2 run gave SMU a 19-6 lead less than six minutes into the contest.
SMU shot 60 percent in the first half to Memphis' 26 percent. That helped SMU's lead balloon to 24 points, 48-24, at halftime.
It also helped that SMU made 10 3-pointers in the first half while Memphis was 0-for-10 from 3-point range.
NOTES: Entering the last weekend of the regular season, seven seeds were still undecided for next week's conference tournament. The Frontier Communications Men's AAC Basketball Championship is March 9-12 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. ... SMU senior F Ben Moore hit the first 3-pointer of his career in the first half. Moore had attempted just two other 3-pointers in four years, both earlier this season. ... Memphis sophomore F Dedric Lawson has 602 points this season, 29 points shy of the Top 10 seasons in school history... SMU walk-on G Jonathan Wilfong, who's from Memphis, started for the first time this season as part of Senior Day honors. Wilfong's father, uncle and grandfather played for Memphis, ... SMU's Tim Jankovich was named a semifinalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award.
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