No. 6 Cincinnati suffocated the shorthanded SMU Mustangs on Sunday at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, rolling to its 16th consecutive victory, 76-51, to remain unbeaten in the American Athletic Conference.
The Bearcats (23-2, 12-0 AAC) turned an 11-point halftime lead into a blowout by holding SMU scoreless over the opening 4:37 of the second half. Cincinnati stretched its 32-21 lead at the break to 28 points before SMU forward Akoy Agau got the Mustangs off the schneid at the 15:23 mark.
The 16-game winning streak represents the longest for Cincinnati under Mick Cronin, who is in his 12th season with the Bearcats. Cincinnati had the same record (22-2) and winning streak last season when it traveled to Dallas and fell to the Mustangs 60-51. SMU had lost only once at home this season and suffered just its sixth defeat at Moody Coliseum over the last six seasons.
Kyle Washington paced the Bearcats with 17 points and eight rebounds while Jarron Cumberland chipped in 12 points. Senior Gary Clark added 11 points and six boards.
SMU (15-10, 5-7) suffered its third consecutive loss and fourth in five games. With Jarrey Foster and Everett Ray already lost for the season due to injury, the Mustangs also played without their leading scorer, junior Shake Milton (hand), and Ethan Chargois (ankle). SMU fielded six scholarship players and two walk-ons, and its inability to score was a direct reflection of the number of healthy bodies in the rotation.
While Cincinnati missed its opening five shots, the Mustangs grabbed a 5-0 lead. But the Bearcats responded with a 15-2 run and, after SMU clawed to within four, held the Mustangs scoreless for the ensuing 4:25 while extending to a double-digit lead.
Ranked second in the nation in field goal defense, the Bearcats limited SMU to 25.7 percent in the first half. That represented a season-low for the Mustangs, who missed 12 of 13 3-pointers before the break.
Jimmy Whitt and Jahmal McMurray, who replaced Milton in the lineup, scored 19 each for SMU, which finished 4-of-24 from behind the arc.
--Field Level Media