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.
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.
UCF: hosts East Carolina on Saturday.
SMU: at East Carolina on Wednesday night.