No. 25 SMU scores upset over No. 11 Cincinnati
No. 25 SMU scores upset over No. 11 Cincinnati
- No. 25 SMU scores upset over No. 11 Cincinnati
Published On: Sun, Feb 12
Feb 25, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats guard Troy Caupain (10) against the UCF Knights at Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats won 83-60. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
In a high-stakes, nationally-televised Top 25 men's basketball showdown Sunday afternoon, No. 25 Southern Methodist made a mammoth statement with a 60-51 defeat of No. 11 Cincinnati at Moody Coliseum in Dallas.
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The Mustangs (22-4, 12-1 American) snapped UC's 15-game winning streak, avenged a Jan. 12 loss to the Bearcats (22-3, 11-1) and vaulted into first place in the conference standings. Freshly-ranked SMU also extended its own winning streak to eight games while doling out UC's first American defeat.
Semi Ojeleye scored 18 points and Sterling Brown added 13 points with a team-high 10 rebounds in the win. Ben Emelogu and Shake Milton added 11 points each.
The Bearcats buried seven first-half 3-pointers, but the Mustangs rallied to knot the score at 28 by halftime.
UC asserted itself in a 12-0 run that generated a 40-31 lead early in the second half. But the game's defining sequence came soon after, as SMU roared back with a 15-0 tear that vaulted it ahead 46-40.
The Mustangs never trailed again. In fact, they outscored UC 29-11 in the last 14:55.
Asked by ESPN commentators what the difference was in the game, Ojeleye pointed to defense.
"Coach (Tim Jankovich) told us if we got stops, then everything else on the offense would take care of itself and that's what happened," Ojeleye said.
As SMU scored 15 straight, UC endured a six-minute scoreless span in which it missed five shots and committed three turnovers. Coach Mick Cronin called a timeout after Brown delivered a lay-up that whipped the arena's record 7,518 fans into a fever pitch.
Although UC's Kyle Washington ended the drought with a jumper after the timeout, it was a mere blip in the Mustangs' plans. They stretched their run to 21-2 and led by 10 with 7:33 remaining.
UC guard Troy Caupain, the preseason conference co-player of the year, went 0-for-7 from the field and scored his only points via two free throws with 2:02 left.
Brown answered with a jumper and the Mustangs held on for the win.
The Bearcats were led by Jacob Evans' 15 points and Gary Clark's 12 rebounds. Kevin Johnson added 13 points and Washington chipped in 10.
SMU outscored Cincinnati 32-23 in the second half and won the rebounding 32-31. The biggest difference in the second half was field goal percentage, as the Mustangs shot 62.5 percent to the Bearcats' 25.9, and that was enough to signal UC's first loss since Dec. 10 at then-No. 16 Butler.
As the Mustangs eye the final regular-season stretch and what lies beyond that, Ojeleye said there are a couple priorities on the to-do list.
"I think take care of our bodies because we don't have a lot of depth and then clean up the mental mistakes," Ojeleye said. "A team like Cincinnati, you miss a close-out, you miss a box-out, they're scoring. We have to clean up those tiny things and hopefully not make those mistakes."
NOTES: With Cincinnati's loss, only three teams in the country remain undefeated in conference play: Gonzaga (West Coast Conference), Princeton (Ivy) and Vermont (America East). ... SMU improved to 15-0 at home and recorded its 19th straight victory at Moody Coliseum. ... The victory was SMU's first over a ranked team since Feb. 23, 2014. ... UC was stopped just shy of its best winning streak in the Mick Cronin era. Its 15-0 streak tied a program-high, which Bearcats teams also achieved in 2010-11 and 2013-14.
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