ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Ben Emelogu scored 23 points and Akoy Agau added 21 to lift Southern Methodist to an 80-73 win over the University of Connecticut in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday.
Jahmal McMurray scored 19 points for the Mustangs (17-15), who withstood three big runs by UConn in the second half to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal game against No. 1 seed Cincinnati.
Christian Vital led UConn with 24 points, 19 in the second half when the Huskies (14-18) cut a 19-point halftime deficit to just four with under a minute to go. Antwoine Anderson added 19 for UConn and Terry Larrier had 12.
Emelogou and McMurray hit three straight 3-pointers that helped SMU thwart a 10-0 UConn burst early in the second half that had cut the 19-point halftime deficit to just nine with 16:38 left in the game.
After UConn trimmed the gap to 12, Agau had a dunk, a layup and two free throws to give SMU a 68-49 with 6:06 left in the game.
UConn still wasn’t done. The Huskies full-court pressure fueled a 20-5 run that made it 73-69 with 41.6 seconds to play on a 3-pointer from Anderson.