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UNIVERSITY PARK – Two local college teams managed to start off with impressive wins. It’s even more impressive considering they both have had to start the season with key players missing.
Markus Kennedy was not in the lineup for SMU’s opener against Lamar, leading credence to the speculation that the pre-season all-conference forward may not play this semester.
It was reported a month ago by multiple outlets that the junior was ruled ineligible due to not being on pace to complete a degree. He was not eligible to begin practice on Oct. 20, but the school did say he was working to regain his eligibility. Larry Brown said on Thursday that he had not yet been officially informed of Kennedy being officially ineligible and was awaiting an announcement.
“This has been going on since last semester so we can speculate all we want, but the decision hasn’t been made,” Brown told The Dallas Morning News. “He had to turn in a paper today. We’re waiting for the grade to be posted.”
Nonetheless, Kennedy was not present on Friday, but he was not without support. Moody Coliseum’s student section was filled with signs saying “Free MK” and “Save Kennedy.”
Brown went with a three-guard starting lineup against the Cardinals, starting Ben Emelogu in Kennedy’s place. The Mustangs did struggle early in the game with giving up offensive rebounds, particularly on Lamar’s missed three-pointers.
SMU did eventually pull away easily to beat the Cardinals 93-54, still imposing their will with several ally-oops and other slam dunks. Ben Moore led the way with 22 points, while Yanick Moreira had 19 and Cannen Cunnigham had 15.
The rest of SMU’s non-conference schedule will not be as easy as facing a Southland Conference team at home, though, as the Mustangs now must travel to Gonzaga and Indiana. They will also be facing Arkansas and traveling to Michigan.

Over in Arlington, UTA is having to start the season short-handed as Scott Cross had to lay out some discipline early, suspending senior forwards Greg Gainey and Anthony Walker for undisclosed violations of team rules. Walker missed the season opener at Bradley, while Gainey will miss the first six games of the season.
The Mavs overcame those losses with the longball against Bradley, hitting 12 three-pointers to beat the Braves 86-75 in Peoria. UTA’s guards led the way, with Drew Charles scoring 14 and Jamel Outler, Kevin Hervey and Johnny Hill each scoring 13.
Hervey and Hill’s freshmen status leads a ray of hope that the Mavs could be very deep this year, but they will likely need to interior presence of those forwards come Sun Belt time. Thankfully, they will soon get back Walker, a senior who became a force late last season, earning a starting role in the conference tournament.


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