Ben Moore

Associated Press

No. 10 SMU stays unbeaten by routing East Carolina 79-55

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) Ben Moore scored 17 points and No. 10 SMU remained unbeaten by routing East Carolina 79-55 on Wednesday night.

Markus Kennedy had 11 points and 10 rebounds, Jordan Tolbert finished with 15 points and Nic Moore had a career-high 12 assists for the Mustangs (16-0, 5-0 American Athletic Conference), who had five double-figure scorers for the fourth time this season.

Playing their first game as a top-10 team in 31 years, they never trailed and shot 52.5 percent while extending the best start and second-longest winning streak in school history.

Caleb White and B.J. Tyson scored 15 points apiece to lead the Pirates (8-9, 0-4), who shot 33 percent in the second half and lost their fourth straight to remain one of two teams winless in AAC play.

Shake Milton scored 13 points and Sterling Brown had 11 for SMU, which put this one away by opening the second half with a 17-4 run. The Mustangs held East Carolina scoreless for five minutes and pushed their lead into the 20s on a 3-pointer by Milton that made it 58-36 with just over 13 minutes left. The Pirates never got closer than 17 the rest of the way.

SMU moved into the top 10 earlier this week for the first time since 1984-85, when the Mustangs climbed to No. 2 with future NBA center Jon Koncak patrolling the paint in Dallas. Unlike that team, this group won’t play in the postseason due to NCAA sanctions, meaning the finish line comes March 6 at Cincinnati.

So while these Mustangs won’t win a national championship, they kept themselves on track to win all their games.

They’ve been getting it done on the boards all season, and this was no exception. They rank third in Division I with a rebounding margin of plus-12.6, and they finished this one with a 42-22 advantage on the boards.

SMU led 21-6 before the Pirates grabbed their first rebound, and allowed East Carolina just five offensive boards while rebounding 27 of ECU’s misses.

TIP-INS

SMU: The Mustangs once again played with just seven scholarship players. Guard Keith Frazier, who averages 11.9 points, missed his fourth straight game and has been away from the team for personal reasons.

East Carolina: The Pirates were denied their first victory over a nationally ranked opponent since they knocked off Dwyane Wade and No. 13 Marquette in 2002. They fell to 1-5 when hosting a top-10 opponent.

UP NEXT

SMU is at Tulane on Sunday.

East Carolina is at Central Florida on Saturday.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

(This version corrects SMU’s ranking in 1985 to No. 2.)

Short-handed No. 15 SMU still undefeated, beats UCF 88-73

Associated Press
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DALLAS (AP) Ben Moore had a career-high 23 points, Nic Moore added 20 and short-handed No. 15 SMU is still undefeated midway through its season after an 88-73 victory over UCF on Sunday.

SMU (15-0, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) took control with an early 15-0 run that included a 57-second span with three 3-pointers. The first of those 3s was an alley-oop that actually went through the hoop, though the Mustangs did have five dunks by halftime – and three more after that.

Justin McBride had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead UCF (8-6, 2-1), while Matt Williams has 12 points and A.J. Davis 10.

No. 22 South Carolina (15-0) and SMU are the only undefeated Division I teams. But the Mustangs know they will only play 30 games this season, because of a postseason ban as part of NCAA sanctions handed down last fall that included Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown missing the team’s first nine games.

The Mustangs have won all six games since Brown came back after their Dec. 17 home win over Hampton. But the 75-year-old coach wasn’t on the bench after halftime Sunday because he wasn’t feeling well. Brown experienced some symptoms of vertigo, which he has dealt with at times in the past.

Jordan Tolbert had 19 points and Sterling Brown 13 for the Mustangs, who maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game after scoring their 15 consecutive points in just over 2 1/2 minutes. The final points in that run were those three consecutive 3s.

Brown was attempting an alley-oop pass to Tolbert, who was in the air but got his hands out of the way and grabbing the rim only after the ball went through for a 3-pointer instead with 15:26 left in the first half. Brown then made a more conventional 3 before Nic Moore’s shot from long range put the Mustangs up 22-8 with 14:29 left in the first half.

SMU again had only seven scholarship players dressed again Sunday, along with two walk-ons who were both in the game in the final minute.

Junior guard Keith Frazier missed his third game in a row because of personal issues, and his future with the team is still uncertain. Online course work for Frazier prior to his enrollment at SMU was part of the NCAA investigation that led to sanctions. He averaged 11.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in his 10 games this season.

TIP-INS

UCF: The Knights missed 11 consecutive shots over more than 6 minutes in the first half, which included the span of SMU’s big run. … UCF has lost its last five games against the Mustangs.

SMU: The best previous season start for the Mustangs had been in 1997-98, when they won their first 10 games. … Overall, the only longer winning streak is the 20 in a row during 1955-56. … SMU is 69-17 since the start of the 2013-14 season.

UP NEXT

UCF: hosts East Carolina on Saturday.

SMU: at East Carolina on Wednesday night.