GARLAND, Texas -- The center duo of Yanick Moreira and Cannen Cunningham scored 19 and 15 points respectively as SMU's inside attack paced the Mustangs to an 87-61 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Sunday afternoon.
SMU capitalized on its advantages in height and depth in improving its record to 4-1. The Mustangs outscored the Golden Lions 52-24 in the paint, 17-2 on second-chance points and 45-4 in bench points.
UAPB, loser of its third straight to drop to 2-3, was led by Devon Haynes with 18, Daniel Broughton with 13 and Ghiavonni Robinson with 12. All four of Robinson's field goals were three-pointers; of his 22 field-goal attempts this season, 19 have been three-pointers.
Moreira is a junior-college transfer, coming to SMU from South Plains College in Lubbock Texas. Cunningham has moved to the bench after starting every Mustangs game last season.
SMU, which out-rebounded UAPB 38-16, has scored 52.4 percent of its points in the paint this season.
The Golden Lions kept up with SMU into the closing minutes of the first half. UAPB led through a stretch of almost four minutes and was tied 24-24 with 6:58 remaining in the half following a putback by Davon Haynes.
But the Mustangs started to build on what became a 41-31 halftime lead when Moreira converted both free-throw attempts. Moreira made six of eight from the line in the first half.
Seconds later, Moreira grabbed the defensive rebounds that led to a layup by Nic Moore. Next, the Mustangs' Nick Russell went coast to coast following a rebound with a drive that gave SMU a 30-24 advantage.
SMU's largest lead of the half was 13 points at 41-28, shaved to 10 at intermission when Robinson stroked a 3-pointer with one second remaining.
Robinson picked right up after halftime, opening the second half with two consecutive 3-pointers that pulled UAPS within 41-37. But Moreira scored nine of SMU's next 11 points as the Mustangs increased their lead to 53-42. SMU continued to pull away and led by as many as 26.
Sunday's game was the first of four for SMU as part of the Corpus Christi Challenge that will continue through Nov. 30.
UAPB is now five games into opening its season with 15 consecutive on either visiting or neutral courts before playing its first home game on Jan. 18 against Southern University.