American Athletic Conference Tournament Recaps

Mar 14, 2015 - 6:39 AM Hartford, CT ( - Nic Moore scored 20 points and No. 20 SMU held off hot-shooting East Carolina for a 74-68 win in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday.

Markus Kennedy took a bump on the head but scored 15 points for top-seeded SMU (25-6), which will play Temple in Saturday's semifinals.

Larry Brown's Mustangs, who had a bye into the quarterfinals, were left out of the NCAA Tournament last year but are virtually guaranteed the program's first berth since 1993 this year after winning the regular season conference title.

SMU was ranked No. 25 in the Associated Press poll before losing to Houston in the quarterfinals of last year's AAC tournament. The Mustangs went on to make the final of the NIT, losing to Minnesota, but are hoping to take the next step this year with the program's first NCAA Tournament berth in 22 years.

Terry Whisnant and Antonio Robinson scored 18 points apiece for East Carolina (14-19), which shot 15-of-34 from 3-point range and had the game's biggest lead at 10 points in the first half.

The eighth-seeded Pirates were coming off an 81-80 win over UCF in overtime on Thursday, but lost four of their last six.

SMU didn't take the lead for good until Kennedy's layup with four minutes left in the game. Earlier in the second half, the junior forward caught a forearm to the head from ECU's Keith Armstrong and walked off the court, but returned soon after.

A key play late in the game came when an errant pass from ECU's Marshall Guilmette was stolen in the paint and Moore drained two free throws at the other end to give the Mustangs a six-point lead with about a minute remaining.

ECU started the game hot, building a 19-9 lead over the first seven minutes while making seven of its first eight shots, including five consecutive 3- pointers.

"They got off to such a good start, I think last year we probably would have packed it in, but we've matured a little bit, and I think have handled adversity much better, and I truly believe that's why we're moving on," Brown said.

But SMU scored seven in a row after that and eventually took the lead with under eight minutes to go in the first half. Moore led all players with 11 points in the half and the Mustangs led 37-32 at the break.

"We battled our tail off, we shot the ball like we needed to shoot it to have a chance," East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo said. "Our defense was really good when we didn't turn the ball over."

Game Notes

SMU won its first regular season title since 1993 (Southwest Conference) ... The Mustangs beat East Carolina 77-54 on Jan. 17 ... The Mustangs outrebounded the Pirates 34-27.

Final Score: Temple 80, Memphis 75

Hartford, CT ( - Will Cummings totaled 21 points and dished out six assists as Temple took down Memphis 80-75 in AAC quarterfinal action on Friday.

Quenton DeCosey had 14 points and eight boards with Jesse Morgan totaling 13 points for the fourth-seeded Owls (23-9), who take on top-seeded SMU in Saturday's semifinal.

Trahson Burrell poured in 16 points and Shaq Goodwin picked up 15 along with nine rebounds for the fifth-seeded Tigers (18-14). Kedren Johnson had 14 points and Calvin Godfrey contributed 13 in a losing cause.

Burrell's jumper with 48 seconds left pulled the Tigers into a 71-71 deadlock, but Obi Enechionyia countered with a bucket of his own plus a foul shot to put the Owls back in front to stay.

Cummings and Enechionyia sealed the outcome by going 6-for-6 from the line as Memphis bricked three straight tries from beyond the arc.

Temple trailed 18-9 just before the midway point of the first half, but roared back with a 19-5 burst to take a 28-23 lead inside of five minutes before intermission on two free throws by Morgan.

Godfrey scored four in a row as the Tigers countered, and Johnson's jumper put Memphis up 32-31 at the break.

Temple went up 58-52 on a Josh Brown trey with 6:58 to play and later extended its edge to 66-58 on DeCosey's two from the line. However, Memphis struck back with a 13-5 run, fueled by five points from Goodwin.

Final Score: Tulsa 59, Houston 51

Hartford, CT ( - Shaquille Harrison scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds as the Tulsa Golden Hurricane swept by the Houston Cougars, 59-51, in the quarterfinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament at the XL Center.

Harrison, who shot 6-of-11 from the floor, also handed out four assists and made four steals for second-seeded Tulsa (22-9). James Woodard chipped in with 10 points for the Golden Hurricane as well.

Tulsa will now head to the semifinals on Saturday to battle Connecticut for the right to take part in the title game on Sunday afternoon.

The 10th-seeded Cougars (13-19) were led by Devonta Pollard with 14 points and nine boards, followed by Cavon Baker with 11 off the bench as he knocked down 3-of-7 shots behind the 3-point line.

Tulsa, which shot 44.0 percent from the field in the first half, led by as many as 14 in the period. The Cougars got off to a very slow start, posting only four points through the first seven minutes before closing to within four at the break, 28-24.

In the second half Houston managed to respond by taking a five-point lead, but the team shot only 32.3 percent from the floor, allowing Tulsa to come back and secure the eight-point win.

The Cougars, who used a total of only seven players, were outscored at the free-throw line, 11-4.

Final Score: Connecticut 57, Cincinnati 54

Hartford, CT ( - Ryan Boatright drained a 3-pointer as time expired to lift the sixth-seeded Connecticut Huskies to a thrilling 57-54 win over the third-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats in the quarterfinal round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament at the XL Center.

Boatright scored a game-high 18 points and handed out four assists for the Huskies (19-13), who will advance to play Tulsa in the semifinals on Saturday. Rodney Purvis chipped in 17 points in the victory.

Troy Caupain led Cincinnati (22-10) with 12 points. Octavius Ellis scored 11 points, Shaq Thomas had 10 and Gary Clark grabbed 11 boards while finishing just one point shy of a double-double.

The Bearcats took a narrow, 22-21 lead into halftime after they outscored the defending national champions, 14-6, in the paint in the opening stanza. UConn was limited to only 29.6 percent efficiency from the floor and allowed 11 second chance points before the break.

Cincinnati found itself trailing, 54-49, with only 36 seconds left in regulation. The Bearcats managed to even the score as Caupain drilled a triple before Thomas made an offensive rebound tip-in with 13 seconds showing on the game clock.

Despite the loss, the Bearcats outscored UConn, 32-16, in the paint. The Huskies converted Cincinnati's 11 turnovers into 14 points.

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