Shake Milton (Photo by Matt Visinsky)

Three Takeaways: SMU vs. Cincinnati

SMU beat Cincinnati 71-56 to win the AAC Tournament Title.

A Tale of Two Halves for Ben Moore

Moore showed off his strong all-around game in the first half. He scored, rebounded, passed and defended brilliantly. His jump shot was not falling, but he chased down a couple of offensive rebounds and played physically inside on offense. He dropped in a perfect entry pass over two Cincinnati defenders to Semi Ojeleye for a layup, and fired an impressive cross-court pass out of a double team that led to a Ben Emelogu three. Cincinnati's big men were not able to get much going against Moore on the other end. Moore was quiet in the second half, registering just a block as his only statistic until he hit a pair of free throws with 1:14 remaining. He missed a couple of good looks around the basket in the second half. Kyle Washington was also able to get the best of him in the post a few times with lefty jump hooks. However, with the way SMU shot the ball in the second half, it did not need production from Moore. 

Cincinnati missed open 3s, SMU sank them

Especially at the beginning of the game, Cincinnati was getting wide open looks from 3, but missed them. The Bearcats missed thirteen of their first fourteen 3s before Jacob Evans made a couple in a row. Kevin Johnson and Troy Caupain combined to go 1-11 from beyonf the arc. The Mustangs burned Cincinnati when they were left open from three. Every SMU player who attempted a 3-pointer made two of them. The Mustangs were getting difficult shots to fall, as Ojeleye and Brown each hit a well-contested look and Emelogu hit one from 30 feet at the halftime buzzer. As a team, Cincinnati shot 4-24 from 3, and SMU shot a searing 10-19.

Cincinnati Won the Battle of the Boards

One of the few bright spots for Cincinnati was that they controlled the glass. SMU came into the game ranked second in the country in rebound margin, out-rebounding their opponents by 9.4 per game. Cincinnati grabbed five more rebounds than SMU tonight, including a whopping 17 offensive rebounds. One player did not destroy SMU on the glass, but the Bearcats used a great team effort. 

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