How it Happened
What a dog fight. Cincinnati started with a quick 4-0 run, answered by an 8-0 run by SMU and from there the teams battled it out. The largest lead either way in the first half was just four and the lead changed six times. After a scrum under the basket, which resulted in two technical fouls, Sterling Brown wandered on to the court while waiting to check in. That move got Brown ejected, who left the bench early just to only end up watching the scrum. Replay showed it and Brown was ejected.
SMU and Cincinnati battled back and forth again in the second half. Cincinnati almost got the win though by outrebounding and outscoring SMU in the paint. The Bearcats got timely three-point baskets from Troy Caupain and Farad Cobb, who has crushed SMU in his few games against the Mustangs. With the team down 55-48, SMU was able to pull back to within two with 1:21 to go. Then Nic Moore nailed a three. On the next possession, Octavius Ellis made both foul shots after being fouled going up after a rebound. Ellis made both shots to go up one, but a Jordan Tolbert tipin got SMU back up one and then Ben Moore made one of two free throws. Cobb missed the three to win it and SMU held on.
What it Means
After a tough break to lose Brown like that, the team rallied together when shots were just not falling tonight for SMU when they needed them to for a while. The team put together a run for the final few minutes of the game that was really unlike anything I've really seen here in Moody. Nic Moore was the savior for this team. The undefeated season continues for SMU and they avenge two losses to the Bearcats last year.
Player of the Game
Nic Moore: After Brown's ejection, Ben Moore moved out to the three at times to play there with Kennedy and Tolbert down low and played well. It was Nic's big-time three-point baskets that gave SMU the win though. Moore had 15 on 5-12 shooting including three three-pointers. Moore missed his last shot, but Tolbert was luckily there to get the tipin. Moore also had the game saving rebound after Tolbert's block.
SMU has not rebounded or scored in the paint particularly well in the past few games. The trend continued, but SMU was able to score 11 of the last 13 points in the final 4:10 of the game. That's defense and to do it undermanned like that is even more impressive.
SMU takes on UCF in Moody Coliseum on Sunday at 3 pm CT.