- Associated Press - Thursday, December 17, 2015

DALLAS (AP) - Another monster game from Jordan Tolbert and a second-half shooting surge allowed SMU associate head coach Tim Jankovich to hand an undefeated team back over to head coach Larry Brown.

Tolbert posted a big double-double, getting 20 points and 19 rebounds as No. 18 SMU romped over Hampton 105-72 Thursday night.

A night after having 18 points and 23 boards in a rout over Nicholls State, Tolbert helped the Mustangs (9-0) to their highest-scoring game since November 2010. SMU is off to its best start since going 10-0 to open the 1997-98 season.

Brown served a nine-game suspension after the NCAA ruled in September that a former men’s basketball administrative assistant completed online course work for a student to help him be admitted to school. The Mustangs also are banned from postseason play this season, including the American Athletic Conference tournament.

Brown’s “sentence” - as Jankovich called it - ended with the game’s final horn. Brown addressed the team in the locker room after being banned from any contact with the program for 33 days.

Jankovich said he didn’t feel pressure to deliver a perfect record for a team that can’t play in the postseason but said, “I’m going to get a lot more sleep next week.”

Hampton (4-4) was led by Quinton Chievous and Brian Darden with 18 points each.

The Pirates trailed 58-53 with 15:20 left before SMU pulled away. The Mustangs shot 67.6 percent in the second half, hitting seven of 10 3-pointers. They outrebounded Hampton 22-9 in the second half and 49-23 overall.

“Our rebounding is like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” Jankovich said.

Tolbert, who is playing his senior season for SMU after previously playing for Texas Tech, had already recorded his fourth double-double of the season by halftime.

Sterling Brown scored a career-high 23 points and Nic Moore added 18, hitting four of his first five 3-point shots of the second half.

Moore played for head coach Jankovich as a freshman at Illinois State before both of them came to SMU in 2012 when Larry Brown was hired.

“It’s been great to have him as a head coach,” Moore said of Jankovich. “Now having Coach Brown back, we’re used to that. When he came in the locker room, all the joy and excitement … to see his face was great. We know we’re about to take another step.”

The Mustangs had only seven active players for the second straight day. Injuries sidelined regular starters Markus Kennedy (ankle) and Keith Frazier (knee) while reserve Sedrick Barefield, averaging 3.2 minutes in five appearances, couldn’t play because of illness.

FRIENDLY ADVICE

Brown’s career high in scoring came on 10 of 11 shooting, the only miss coming on a 3-point attempt. He noted teammates have urged him to be more aggressive. “My teammates always tell me to shoot the ball,” he said. “They just happened to go in.”

NUMBERS GAME

Hampton coach Edward “Buck” Joyner Jr. had his team shooting more than usual from behind the arc early to avoid SMU’s long inside defense. The Pirates hit six 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes when averaging 5.9 going into the game. But Hampton finished 12 of 31 from long range. Conversely, SMU’s outside shooting in the second half spread out Hampton’s zone defense and allowed the Mustangs more opportunities inside.

Joyner said he didn’t see SMU’s short bench on the second straight night as a weakness for the Mustangs. “Especially when you get to this level,” he said. “Those kids should be used to playing 20, 30 minutes a night.”

TIP-INS

Hampton: Reginald Johnson Jr. had 16 points. He scored in double figures for the seventh straight game after being held to seven in the Pirates’ season opener.

SMU: Six Mustangs scored in double figures, which was last done in December 2008. SMU’s other player, walk-on Jonathan Wilfong, was scoreless playing seven minutes.

UP NEXT

Hampton: At Colorado on Saturday.

SMU: Vs. Kent State in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

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