DALLAS (AP) — Markus Kennedy had 14 points and 9 rebounds while Shawn Williams added 14 as SMU defeated Temple 75-52 on Thursday.
The victory pushed the Mustangs (18-5, 7-3 American Athletic Conference) into a third-place tie with Memphis as they attempt to gain their first NCAA Tournament berth since 1993. The Owls (6-15, 1-8) lost for the 10th time in their last 11 games.
Temple’s Dalton Pepper led all scorers with 15 points, while Anthony Lee had 12 and Will Cummings 10.
SMU went into game ranked third in Division I field-goal defense at 37.2 percent and held Temple to 30.3 percent on 20-for-66 shooting.
Kennedy scored eight of SMU’s first 10 points in the first 4 minutes as the Mustangs raced to a 10-4 lead. They led by as many 14 during the first half and took a 32-20 lead to the locker room at halftime. It Temple’s lowest scoring first half this season.
SMU has dominated points in the paint throughout the season, and Thursday’s game was no different as the Mustangs held a 40-22 advantage inside.
The Owls shot only 23.3 percent during the first half (7 of 30) and missed their first eight attempts on 3-pointers.
Temple’s first successful 3-pointer, by Pepper, pulled the Owls within 20-14 with 7:06 to play in the half. But SMU responded by outscoring Temple 12-6 for the balance of the half. That included Kennedy’s only other field goal of the half, when he made a steal near the Owls’ free-throw line and dribbled all the way down court, splitting Temple’s Will Cummings and Josh Brown for a layup.
The Mustangs, who shot 60.7 during the second half, extended their lead to a game-high 27 points with 7:20 remaining.
SMU is unbeaten in 12 home games this season — the first six were played off campus while its 57-year-old Moody Coliseum underwent a $47 million refurbishing.
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