How it Happened
Cincinnati was red hot to start from beyond the arc, similar to the Bearcats win at home earlier this season. Five of the first six baskets for the Bearcats were from beyond the arc with Jacob Evans having three of them. SMU struggled to rotate and close out on shooters. As the half wore on, SMU chipped away at Cincinnati's lead to end the first half tied. The run to end the first half was sparked by a Ben Emelogu jumper to close the gap to 5.
Early in the second half, it looked like it might remain the same as far as Cincinnati's shooting from beyond the arc, but that didn't last long. From 16:09 to 9:52, Cincinnati went scoreless. During that time, SMU went on a 12-0 run and went from being down six, to up six. SMU didn't exactly cruise to the finish, but rather stepped on the gas and grew the team's lead to 10 and shut down Cincinnati. It was a total team effort as four Mustangs were in double figures. SMU made a few free throws and got some stops on Cincinnati to finish out the 60-51 win.
What it Means
SMU sits at the top of the standings for the American Athletic Conference. In what was billed as a heavy weight battle, it certainly lived up to it.
Player of the Game: Ben Emelogu
The often criticized Emelogu had one of his most important performances of his SMU career as he had 11 points, two rebounds and two assists coming off the bench. Emelogu also forced a couple turnovers by Cincinnati players and for the most part, was vital to the team's success on defense. For someone who has caught as much flack as Emelogu, he was huge for the Mustangs on Sunday.
SMU took advantage of 12 Cincinnati turnovers with 21 points off of those turnovers. The big change though was Cincinnati going 7-for-15 to 5-for-17 from beyond the arc from the first half to the second half. The change was the difference in the game as SMU took advantage.
SMU hosts Tulane on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN3.