DALLAS – No. 15 SMU reached the halfway point to a perfect season with an 88-73 win over Central Florida on Sunday at Moody Coliseum.
SMU (15-0, 4-0 in American) and South Carolina (15-0) are the only undefeated teams left in Division I. The Mustangs, ineligible for postseason play, have 15 games remaining.
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Junior forward Ben Moore scored a career-high 23 points to lead SMU, while point guard Nic Moore scored 20 with a 6-of-9 performance from 3-point range. SMU forward Jordan Tolbert added 19 points and seven rebounds.
The Mustangs shot 55.7 percent from the field, and the only drama in the second half was coach Larry Brown’ s absence. The 75-year-old Hall of Fame coach was suffering from vertigo, according to a team spokesman, and did not return to the bench for the second half.
UCF (8-6, 2-1 in the AAC) could not overcome an early scoring slump, despite a season-high 20 points off the bench from center Justin McBride.
The Mustangs broke the game open with a 19-1 run to take a 26-9 lead with 11:45 left in the first half. The Mustangs’ lead grew to 18 when Nic Moore hit his second 3-pointer for a 37-19 advantage with 5:34 remaining in the half.
SMU shot 58.6 percent from the field in the first half to coast to a 45-31 halftime lead.
Ben Moore scored 14 of his points in the first half on 7-of-11 shooting as SMU repeatedly beat UCF to the rim on alley-oop dunks.
Guard Sterling Brown tallied five assists in the first half and knocked in a pair of 3-pointers for nine points at the break.