GARLAND, Texas — Giving up points in the paint and a lack of depth caught up with Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday.
It didn’t help that Southern Methodist shot 66.7 percent from the floor, either.
SMU’s reserves outscored UAPB’s 45-4, and the Mustangs pulled away in the second half to take an 87-61 victory in both teams’ first game of the Corpus Christi (Texas) Challenge. It’s the third straight loss for the Golden Lions (2-3), who continue action in the round-robin event Tuesday night at Texas A&M.
SMU (4-1) also outscored UAPB in the paint 52-24, but the Larry Brown-coached Mustangs still had a fight on their hands when they led 46-42 with 15:24 remaining. Down 41-31 at halftime, freshman Ghiavonni Robinson gave UAPB a spark in the second half with back-to-back three-point baskets to make it 41-37.
SMU pulled out to a 53-42 lead on a Yanick Moreira putback, but UAPB pulled within as close as 53-47 with 12:27 left on a Tevin Hammond three-point play. The Mustangs then broke the game open with a 15-0 run, as the Lions struggled to score from outside, shooting 3 for 16 in the half and 6 for 28 for the game.
UAPB led three times in the first half, holding its biggest advantage at 13-8. SMU led by as much as 41-28 with 11 seconds left, but Robinson canned a three-pointer just before halftime to end a 9-0 Mustangs run.
Moreira scored a game-high 19 points, hitting all six of his field-goal attempts and going 7 for 9 in free throws. He also blocked two shots and had six rebounds.
Cannen Cunningham added 15 points, going 5 for 5 from three-point range, Marcus Kennedy added 12 points and Nic Moore had 10 points and three steals for SMU.
The Mustangs hit 32 of 48 from the floor, including only 3 of 12 from the arc. They converted 20 of 25 free throws and dominated UAPB on the boards, 38-16.
The Lions were 22 for 56 (39.3 percent) from the floor, 6 for 28 from the arc and 11 for 15 from the foul line. Davon Haynes led the Lions with 18 points, hitting 5 of 8 field goals, and five assists. Daniel Broughton went 6 for 10 from the floor and scored 13 points, while Robinson added a career-high 12 points and Hammond scored 10.
Marcel Mosley, the Lions’ leading scorer going into Sunday’s game, was held to four points and four assists. He was 0 for 5 from three-point range, after starting the season making 10 of 15.