DALLAS (AP) — Jahmal McMurray drove for three straight layups in a 12-2 run late in the first half, and SMU went on to beat UConn 77-59 on Thursday night.
The game was tied at 24 before the Mustangs regained the lead with 3-pointers by Nat Dixon and Isiaha Mike before McMurray began slicing through the UConn defense to build SMU’s lead to 36-26 with 2:24 remaining.
McMurray led the Mustangs (13-12, 5-8 American Athletic Conference) with a game-high 25 points, 15 in the second half. Ethan Chargois and Mike scored 14 each, and Feron Hunt had 11.
SMU ended a five-game losing streak.
The Huskies (13-13, 4-9) have lost four straight. Tyler Polley led UConn with 19 points. Christian Vital was the only other player in double figures with 14.
SMU scored the game’s first seven points and increased the lead to nine at 14-5.
The Huskies battled back to take their first lead at 19-18 on a 3-pointer by Polley with 8:31 left in the first half.
UConn was in the game earlier in the half because the visitors made 5 of their first 10 3-point attempts, including two each by Polley and Vital. The visitors missed the final three from 3-point range.
A bigger problem for UConn was the inside game. The Huskies were 4-for-21 on 2-point attempts (19 percent), and SMU outrebounded them 21-15 in the first half.
The Mustangs extended their lead to as many as 19 points, on a 3-pointer by Changois for a 64-45 advantage.
UConn: It’s increasingly clear that the Huskies will have to excel, if not win, in the conference tournament to reach the postseason. UConn could help their postseason destiny. They’ll play two of the top four teams in the conference - Cincinnati and Temple - but both games would be at home.
SMU: The Mustangs kept alive slim hopes to qualify for postseason play. SMU faces an uphill battle with games remaining against the conference’s top three teams - ninth-ranked Houston on the road, Cincinnati and UCF.
UConn: With five regular-season games remaining, the Huskies will host Cincinnati on Sunday. The Bearcats are just outside The AP Top 25 with 99 points, 65 behind No. 25 Buffalo. UConn took a narrow 74-72 loss at Cincinnati on Jan. 12.
SMU: The Mustangs will travel to play at Central Florida on Sunday. They lost at home against UCF 71-65 on Feb. 10.