January 6, 2014
By BILL NICHOLS
The Dallas Morning News
UNIVERSITY PARK — With an overflow crowd on hand for the reopening of renovated Moody Coliseum, SMU ushered in the new era with a historically significant win.
The Mustangs’ 74-65 victory over No. 17 Connecticut was their first win over a ranked team since 2003 (No. 17 Purdue) and first at home since 1993 (No. 25 Houston).
The reopening attracted 7,166, the first sellout since Nov. 21, 2001, against Texas Tech. In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the SMU women lost to South Florida, 76-62.
Fans enjoyed the perks of Moody’s $47 million renovation, which included a shiny new floor, private suites and video boards.
But it was their team that got them on their feet, chanting, “SMU, SMU, SMU!” as the final seconds ticked off on the Mustangs’ first American Athletic Conference victory.
“It was an incredible atmosphere for college basketball,” SMU coach Larry Brown said. “I guess it was what we were hoping for when we got here.”
Since Brown arrived, the young Mustangs (11-3, 1-1) have played well against quality teams but failed to close those games. Beating UConn (11-3, 0-2) showed progress.
They outhustled the Huskies in the second half, scrambling for loose balls and rebounds. They often played to the crowd as they took control in the final eight minutes.
“The atmosphere being back at Moody; we’ve been waiting for this day,” Mustangs guard Nick Russell said. “January 4 has been on my calendar forever. It finally came. We were all excited, we were all jacked up for it, we just wanted to play hard.”
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SMU basketball reopens renovated Moody Coliseum with 74-65 upset of No. 17 UConn, first AAC win
By The Associated Press
The first victory over a ranked opponent since December 2003 before the first campus sellout since December 2001 had second-year SMU coach Larry Brown feeling like he can boast the nation's best college basketball product.
"I don't think any other program can think they have more than us," Brown said after his Mustangs, playing their first home game as a member of the American Athletic Conference, stunned No. 17 Connecticut 74-65 before an overflow crowd in the debut of the refurbished Moody Coliseum. "We're in a great league. Got a great school. A great city."
Nic Moore scored 19 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, and Nick Russell picked up the slack by adding with 11 of his 14 points in the second half for SMU (11-3, 1-1). Brown said Russell missed only one shot after he admonished him for thinking too much.
"He shot it, and I think that got us a lot more confidence," the Naismith Hall of Famer said.
As the school completed $47 million of renovations on its 57-year-old gym that officially seats 7,000, SMU played six non-conference home games an hour from campus in a suburban civic center.
Once victory was in hand during Saturday's closing moments, much of the 7,166 in attendance stood and chanted Brown's name. Among his former players on hand was Dikembe Mutombo.
"I feel like the fans appreciated what we did here," Russell said. "I feel like every game will be a big game. Every game will be a packed crowd ready to see good basketball, and that's what we'll try to give them."
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