No. 22 Cincinnati holds off SMU 66-64 to stay undefeated in the American Athletic Conference

It was a battle of American Athletic Conference powers, both teams were undefeated in the conference, but somebody had to leave Fifth Third Arena with a loss. Who would it be?

The No. 22 Cincinnati Bearcats welcomed the SMU Mustangs to Fifth Third Arena on an unseasonably warm Thursday. The Bearcats and Mustangs hooked up for prime time basketball televised on ESPN, the game was a “Red Out” aka “ArmouRED” because of the Bearcats affiliation with Under Amour.

The first half was led by senior guards Kevin Johnson and Troy Caupain both players had it going from deep as they both had 9 points apiece with 3 threes.  The home team had a lead as big as 13 points, but let SMU trim it down to 7 points in the half. The Mustangs out rebounded the Bearcats 20-13 and had 7 offensive rebounds. Sterling Brown kept the visitors in the game with 15 big points. Cincinnati shot 50% from three (6 of the threes by Caupain and Johnson).

In the second half Gary Clark had an eight minute stretch where he was “Red Hot” as he scored 12 points hitting 2 threes, 2 dunks and a layup. They pushed the lead up to 12 points at one point, but the Mustangs kept fighting. Jarron Cumberland hit a huge three at the 4:32 mark and hit two big free throws at 2:35 to push the lead back up to 5 points. The Bearcats wouldn’t score anymore and after a big three by Jarrey Foster SMU was alive and well. With .4 seconds left in the game Jacob Evans missed a front end of a one and one and left the door open, SMU didn’t get a shot up and the Bearcats handed the Mustangs their first AAC loss of the season.

The Bearcats had three players in double digits Kyle Washington with 11 points, Gary Clark with 18 points (team high) and Troy Caupain with 16 points. Caupain had a team high 7 rebounds and tied with Jacob Evans with 6 assists.

Cincinnati is now 14-2 overall and 4-0 in the AAC, they will play Sunday on the road against ECU at 4 pm on CBSports Network.

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