SMU pushes past Houston 75-68
By JEREMY RAKES
HOUSTON (AP) Nic Moore had a career-high 28 points as Southern Methodist overcame a sluggish first half to defeat Houston 75-68 Sunday and push the Mustangs' win streak to five games.
Moore was 8 of 18 and connected on 11 of 12 from the free throw line as SMU (16-4, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) shot 61.5 percent in the second half. Moore's previous career-high was 25 points at Stanford March 19, 2012 when he was at Illinois State.
Markus Kennedy added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Nick Russell had 10 points for SMU, which was 27 of 32 from the free throw line, including 17 of 20 in the second half.
Danuel House led Houston with 22 points, and TaShawn Thomas added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Cougars (11-9, 3-4), who dropped their fourth in the last five games.
Houston shot 56.5 percent in the second half and just under 48 percent in the game, including 8 of 18 from behind the arc, but the Cougars turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 16 points off turnovers.
The Mustangs used a quick 6-0 spurt to push their lead to 57-52 on a Russell jumper with 6:23 to go. Houston closed within 59-58 with 4:57 remaining on a House 3-pointer, but the Cougars went cold from there.
Houston missed 3-pointers on consecutive possessions followed by a missed layup by L.J. Rose and a missed dunk by Thomas before a turnover.
Moore pushed SMU's lead to 63-58 on a free throw with 2:20 left before House missed a 3-pointer on Houston's next possession. Moore hit a layup next time down to push the Mustangs' lead to seven.
SMU opened the second half with a 9-1 run to take a 34-32 lead on a Russell jumper with 16:27 remaining. Houston responded to regain a 44-40 advantage with 12:30 left on a Tione Womack jumper.
Houston started off slow, missing its first five shots before Thomas hit a layup with 13:49 left in the first half to cut SMU's lead to 7-5.
The Mustangs went 4:54 without hitting a field goal late in the first half before a Nic Moore layup with 2 seconds left. The Cougars took advantage of SMU's dry spell with a 10-2 run over to grab a 31-23 lead with 1:14 remaining on a House layup. House had all 10 points for Houston in the run.
Houston led 31-25 at the half as SMU struggled from the field in the first half, shooting just under 27 percent, including 1 for 7 for 3-pointers.
Updated January 26, 2014