A Winning Script in Yet Another Act

The New York Times looks at Coach Larry Brown and SMU Men's Basketball.

Larry Brown of SMU

By Peter May

STORRS, Conn. — The game was five minutes old. The score was 2-0. Southern Methodist’s point guard, Nic Moore, brought the ball up in transition and quickly launched an unsuccessful 3-point attempt.

Twelve seconds later, Moore, who leads the Mustangs in scoring, assists and minutes, was seated on the bench next to his coach, Larry Brown. Seventeen seconds later, after some choice words from Brown, Moore was back in the game.

“Sometimes we don’t see eye to eye,” Moore said of Brown, a Hall of Fame coach who is in the middle of yet another restoration project in a 39-year coaching career. “At times, he can be tough. But he has been there before. I understand now that if I just listen to him, great things will happen.”

Moore finished with 15 points and 5 assists in S.M.U.’s 64-55 victory at Connecticut on Feb. 23. The victory put the Mustangs back in the top 25 for the second time this season; before this season, they had not been ranked in the top 25 since 1984-5. When the team arrived back on its Dallas campus later that night, a throng of students greeted its bus.

The mood is definitely upbeat these days at S.M.U., where Brown has turned around a program in only his second season there.

S.M.U. (23-6) has the most wins of any Mustangs team since 1987-8 and is looking for its first N.C.A.A. tournament bid since 1993. The Mustangs swept the season series with UConn and beat then-No. 7 Cincinnati, their first victory over a top 10 opponent since 1987 and their first on-campus win over a top 10 team since 1967. On Wednesday, S.M.U. faces No. 11 Louisville, which is tied with Cincinnati for first in the American Athletic Conference, one game ahead of the Mustangs.

Read the full story.