CINCINNATI (AP) Troy Caupain scored 16 points and blunted SMU’s comeback, and No. 22 Cincinnati let most of a 15-point lead slip away before holding on for a 66-64 victory Thursday night.
The Bearcats (14-2, 4-0) won a matchup of the last two unbeaten teams in American Athletic Conference play, taking their seventh straight game overall. Gary Clark led Cincinnati with 18 points, including two 3s that matched his career high.
SMU (14-4, 4-1) lost its 10-game winning streak, which tied for third-longest in school history. Sterling Brown led the Mustangs with a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, but missed a 3-point shot that would have given the Mustangs the lead with 10 seconds left.
Kyle Washington had a pull-up jumper and a 3-pointer during a 16-point run that put Cincinnati ahead 27-12. SMU opened the game 4 of 19 from the field with five turnovers. Semi Ojeleye, who leads the Mustangs at 17.9 points per game, was limited to two free throws in the first half. He finished with 12 points.
Jarrey Foster’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 54-52, but Caupain’s 3-pointer ended the SMU comeback. SMU never got closer than two points the rest of the way.
SMU: During the 10-game winning streak, the Mustangs held everyone to 65 points or less. That streak was broken too.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats have won 18 straight home games, their best such streak since they won 19 straight from 2013-14.
SMU: The Mustangs had started to make progress in the poll, getting five points this week, the 32nd-most overall.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats have been ranked for the last six weeks, including at No. 22 each of the last two. The win over SMU could help them finally move up.
The Mustangs play at Tulane on Sunday. They swept the series last season, winning 60-45 at Tulane. SMU is 5-11 all-time at Tulane.
The Bearcats play at East Carolina on Sunday. Cincinnati is 10-1 all-time in the series, with East Carolina’s only victory coming at home during the 2014-15 season.
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