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No. 20 SMU tops Temple, gains AAC final

Mar 14, 2015 - 11:31 PM Hartford, CT ( - Markus Kennedy totaled 17 points and nine rebounds as No. 20 SMU used a second-half surge to dispatch Temple by a 69-56 count in an AAC semifinal.

Yanick Moreira and Cannen Cunningham each posted 11 points while Sterling Brown pulled down 10 rebounds for the Mustangs (26-6), who advance to face UConn in Sunday's tourney final.

Quenton DeCosey picked up 14 points for the Owls (23-10). Jesse Morgan added 10 points in a losing cause.

The Mustangs moved on top for the first time at 35-34 just over three minutes into the second half after Kennedy's free throws ended a 9-4 burst.

Nic Moore was later good from long distance, followed with a two-point shot and Ryan Manuel added a slam which gave SMU its largest lead of the game to that point at 49-38 with 11:52 remaining.

The Owls whittled their deficit to as little as seven on several occasions, but couldn't continue the push. After Devin Coleman's fastbreak layup made it 63-56, Cunningham answered with a bucket and Brown converted two free throws for an 11-point contest inside of a minute to play.

Temple raced out to an 11-3 lead with less than five minutes played. Will Cummings hit a bucket and a free throw to give the Owls a 17-7 edge just over nine minutes in.

SMU steadily awoke and pulled even at 26-26 after a Cunningham free throw inside the final minute. Obi Enechionyia's jumper -- Temple's first field goal in more than six minutes -- sent it to halftime up by two.

Game Notes

SMU won all three meetings this season ... Temple shot just 4-of-24 from beyond the arc and 29.3 percent overall (17-of-58) from the field.