How it Happened
Temple took a 33-25 lead into halftime and led 39-29 early in the second half, but Nic Moore ignited a rally with 13 minutes left by making two quick jumpers (one three), then getting a steal and dish to Sterling Brown. After a brief Temple spurt, Moore hit another three with 9:45 to go that brought SMU within 1, then another that gave SMU a three-point lead. SMU trailed for just one minute in the remainder of the game and held Temple to four field goals over the final 10 minutes.
What it Means
Nic Moore might have clinched the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year with yet another game in which he carried the team to a win. He led the Mustangs out of a sluggish first half at Tulane and stole the show at home against Houston. That’s just to name a couple such instances this season. SMU moved to 13-2 in the American Athletic conference and Temple is two and a half games back of SMU for first place with three games left in the season (four for Temple).
Player of the Game
Nic Moore: Moore’s 18 points and three second-half threes sparked SMU to its second second-half comeback against Temple in as many games. Moore had seven turnovers in the first Temple game, but put his team on his back in the rematch. He had six turnovers tonight, but they weren’t as harmful as they were in the first game. SMU wouldn’t be close to the level it is without its star guard.
Jaylen Bond, the conference’s leading rebounder, pulled down 11 boards against SMU. He hit the glass harder than anyone else on the floor and helped limit SMU’s second-chance opportunities. SMU had a major height advantage against Temple’s frontcourt, but Bond minimized that with his aggressiveness.
SMU has a week off before traveling to Memphis for a Feb. 26 matchup against the Tigers. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. central time.