Recap: SMU vs. Cincinnati
Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - With a win over a top-10 team for the first time since 1987, three victories against top-25 clubs this season, and an unbeaten record at home, the SMU Mustangs are certainly worthy of being ranked come Monday.
The latest win for the Mustangs may have put them over the top.
Nick Russell and Ben Moore each scored 15 points, as SMU upended No. 7 Cincinnati, 76-55, at Moody Coliseum to snap the Bearcats' 15-game winning streak.
Nic Moore tallied 14 points for the Mustangs (19-5, 8-3 AAC), who have won three in a row and eight of their last nine contests.
When the game ended, fans rushed the court in jubilation, knowing the Mustangs, who haven't made the NCAA Tournament since 1993, could move into the top-25 come Monday. This was SMU's third win over a ranked opponent this season. The Mustangs beat then No. 17 Connecticut on Jan. 4 and turned back then-22nd-ranked Memphis last Saturday with both of those previous wins at Moody Coliseum.
SMU received a season-high 15 votes in this week's AP Poll.
Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has his team off to a 13-0 mark at home, including a 7-0 record in the renovated Moody Coliseum.
SMU also got revenge on the Bearcats for a 65-57 loss on New Year's Day. The Mustangs held Cincinnati to 36.5 percent shooting in that game, but committed 17 turnovers and were outscored 23-8 at the foul line.
"That's all we talked about doing is matching their energy. I thought we did that," Brown said.
This game provided a different outcome thanks to the quick hands by SMU on defense. Cincinnati committed 19 turnovers. That helped the Mustangs get their first win over a top-10 squad since topping No. 7 Florida, on Dec. 3, 1987.
Sean Kilpatrick scored 22 for the Bearcats (22-3, 11-1), who lost for the first time since Dec. 14 against Xavier.
Cincinnati whittled an 18-point deficit early in the second half to 48-41 following two free throws from Titus Rubles at the midway point. SMU, though, scored the ensuing 11 points. Ben Moore stole the ball and drove in for layup. Nic Moore then drained a 3-pointer for a 57-41 cushion. Russell came up with a steal and cruised in for a layup to send the crowd into a frenzy and widen the gap to 18 points with just over eight minutes remaining.
The Bearcats were never within single digits the rest of the game, and the Mustangs moved to 14-games over .500 for the first time since SMU was 16-over at 21-5 in the 1999-00 season.
Crandall Head's layup capped an 11-2 spurt, which widened SMU's lead to 22-12 with just over six minutes left in the first half.
Keith Frazier's 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half provided the hosts with a 38-24 cushion after 20 minutes of play.Game Notes
This is the first time SMU has defeated three ranked teams in the same season
since 1984-85 (3 wins) ... This is also the first on campus win over an
opponent in the AP top 10 since Dec. 29, 1967 when the Mustangs defeated No. 3
Indiana, 91-84 ... Kilpatrick tied the school record for consecutive games
played, matching Keith Gregor (131 games from 1993-95) ... SMU came into
the game second in the nation holding teams to 36.8 percent shooting from the
field and were limiting opponents to 61.3 ppg ... The Bearcats shot 35.4
percent, including 4-of-24 from beyond the arc ... SMU, which was also in
the top-10 in the country by shooting 49.4 percent, made 54.3 percent from the