Arkansas-Pine Bluff men’s basketball coach George Ivory might have taken a good look at how Southern Methodist plays six days ago when the Mustangs lost at Arkansas.
Both teams shot well from the floor and SMU even had a 36-32 rebounding advantage, but Arkansas made 11 of 22 three-point attempts on its way to an 89-78 victory. It’s SMU’s only loss of the season.
Aside from that game, the Mustangs (3-1) are another formidable opponent for the Golden Lions. The two will square off at 1:30 p.m. today in Garland, Texas, to begin the Corpus Christi Challenge, a round-robin tournament that will conclude next Saturday.
Ivory hopes the Lions can be as competitive with the Mustangs as they were at Air Force a week ago in a 67-64 loss.
“We’re working on some things we’re trying to do as far as (avoiding) last-minute turnovers,” Ivory said. “We working on not having turnovers and getting the ball at the right place at the right time.”
UAPB will play four games in the Challenge, with a Tuesday game at Texas A&M and two games in Corpus Christi against Sam Houston State (on Friday) and either Liberty or Hampton (on Saturday). SMU is playing its nonconference home games in Garland this season as its on-campus Moody Coliseum undergoes $47 millon worth of renovations.
For Ivory, it’s another chance to try and outsmart a former NBA coach as Hall of Famer Larry Brown leads SMU. Brown, who coached Kansas to the 1988 NCAA championship and the Detroit Pistons to the 2004 NBA title, is 18-18 in his second season with the Mustangs.
Ivory’s Lions defeated Florida International 58-56 in the fall of 2011, when Isiah Thomas was at the helm.
Brown’s impact on the Mustangs is apparently working. They started the season with a 69-61 win against Metroplex rival Texas Christian and have beaten Rhode Island and Texas State by an average of 26 points. The Mustangs are getting it done with balanced scoring. They have only one player averaging in double figures, and that’s sophomore point guard Nic Moore (15.3 points per game). He’s shooting 54 percent from three-point range and 50 percent from the floor overall.
Six other Mustangs average seven or more points.
SMU will face another outside threat from UAPB, as reserve guard Marcel Mosley is shooting 67 percent (10 of 15) from the arc and 55.2 percent (16 of 29) from the floor. But the Lions hope to give center Daniel Broughton a much-needed boost to his production in the Challenge. The All-SWAC selection is averaging only four points and four rebounds a game.
“I’m just getting my teammates involved a lot,” Broughton said. “I’ve been passing the ball a lot, and I find the open man. .. They’ve been playing mostly zone and I’m on the high post. They come up to me, and I dish the ball out.”