DALLAS (AP) — Rashawn Fredericks put No. 23 Cincinnati ahead to stay with his only two field goals and the Bearcats overcame a horrible shooting night to beat SMU 52-49 on Wednesday.
Fredericks finished with six points for the Bearcats (24-4, 13-2 American Athletic Conference), and his consecutive layups midway through the second half made it 36-33. That was part of an 8-0 run, and Cincinnati never trailed again despite shooting a season-low 26.6 percent (17 of 64) from the field.
Jarron Cumberland led Cincinnati with 12 points, well below his season average of 18.6 per game that was second in the conference. He didn’t reach double figures until making four free throws in the final 37 seconds.
Cincinnati has won 12 of its last 13 games, the only loss in that span at league-leading Houston (27-1, 14-1) on Feb. 10. The Bearcats are the defending AAC champions, and the last of their three remaining regular-season games is at home March 10 against the Cougars.
Jahmal McMurray had 27 points for SMU (13-14, 5-10), which has lost seven of eight. The Mustangs were coming off a 95-48 loss at UCF on Sunday that was the most lopsided defeat in program history.
After a dunk by Cumberland put Cincinnati up 19-14 with 5:59 left in the first half, SMU ended the half with a 14-3 run for a 28-22 lead at the break.
The Bearcats, who missed 11 of their first 12 shots to start the game, made only one of their last nine in the half — a 3-ponter by Justin Jenifer that put them up 22-20. SMU then went ahead on a 3-pointer by McMurray.
Cincinnati scored the first six points of the second half, a jumper by Keith Williams with 17:16 left making it 28-all for the only tie of the second half.
Cincinnati: With all those misses, the Bearcats also had a lot of rebounds. They finished with a 50-35 rebounding margin, including 21 offensive boards. Nysier Brooks had 12 rebounds, and Tre Scott 10. ... Cincinnati is guaranteed a first-round bye in the AAC Tournament. Keith Williams and Brooks each had eight points.
SMU: The Mustangs have lost three of their last four home games and will have some work to do to avoid a losing season.
Cincinnati is home Saturday night against Memphis.
SMU plays its home finale Sunday against Wichita State before ending the regular season next week with two road games.
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