Rapid Reaction: SMU Beats Cal

Scott Sanford shares his initial reaction from SMU's big win over Cal to advance to NYC.

How it happened: SMU has a bad tendency to start games off slowly. But the Mustangs usually find ways to battle back in the second half. The Mustangs have also usually relied on Nic Moore all season to be the leader of their offense. Tonight was no different. Moore, who finished with 11 points, was just 4-11 from the field, but when it mattered, he hit the biggest basket of the night to give SMU a 67-65 lead with 5 seconds left. The Bears' Justin Cobbs (18 points) and Jabari Bird (20 points) did all they could to hand SMU their second home loss of the season, but Cal's last shot didn't fall and SMU is headed to New York. Markus Kennedy's 19 points and 10 rebounds, along with Keith Frazier's 9 points helped SMU stick with the Bears the entire game. It wasn't pretty, but the Mustangs grinded and made stops when it mattered most.

What it means: SMU is playing some of its best basketball of the year right now, and today they finally showed they can win a close game. The No. 1 overall-seeded Mustangs will head to New York City to try and prove to everyone that they in fact did deserve to be in the NCAA tournament.

Side note: Keith Frazier continued his improved play with 9 points on 3-6 shooting and 2-2 shooting from downtown. Frazier seems to be hitting his stride at the right time for the Mustangs. In addition, Yanick Moreira, who has played little to no minutes in recent games, did not play.

Next: The Mustangs will head to the Big Apple, where they will take on Clemson in Madison Square Garden, in the semifinals of the NIT. SMU will take on the Tigers on April 1 at either 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET.

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