SMU Wins AAC Tournament With Balance 71-56 Win Against Cincinnati

Posted March 14, 2017

No. 18 Cincinnati will look for a repeat of its regular-season finale when it takes on CT in an American Athletic Conference semifinal Saturday in Hartford, Conn.

"I don't want the story to be about something I said", said Cronin, whose team is in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh consecutive season.

On the season, SMU basketball is averaging 74.6 points, 38.5 rebounds and 16.4 assists per game. Houston hit 41.3 percent of its shots and was 6 for 19 on 3-pointers.

"Let's be honest, CT did a great job feeding off that crowd", Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. UConn (16-17, 9-10 AAC) suffered the brunt of the awful officiating, as Cincinnati took 46 free throws, to the Huskies' 25, but it was bad on both sides.

The Mustangs never trailed in this one.

"They made it look easy, which is hard to do against our defense", Cronin said.

"They've been absolutely fabulous all season long", Jankovich said.

Adams led the Huskies in scoring with 23 points.

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Tournament MVP Simi Ojeleye added 14 points, Jarrey Foster had 13 and Ben Moore scored 12 for Mustangs (30-4), who won their 16th straight game and second AAC title in three years.

While the threes made the difference on the score sheet, Cincinnati shot just 31.1 percent overall from the field, including 16.7 percent from deep. The only time the two teams met at a neutral site came December 29, 1958, with UC claiming a 94-70 win in the Dixie Classic.

SMU was seeded fourth in 1957, fifth in 1985 tournament and received a sixth seed in 2015 after winning the AAC Tournament in Hartford. They are one of just seven teams in that position (Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, North Carolina, VCU and Wisconsin). UC is a No. 6 seed for the third time in its postseason history, all under Head Coach Mick Cronin, and is seeded in the South Region for the first time since 2004. SMU won 30 games. "I think my teammates are doing a great job being able to present me with some possessions". Ojeleye said the team got better as the tournament progressed.

"I think I am getting a lot more healthy game by game", said Adams, who has played 79 minutes in two tournament wins despite a moderate left ankle sprain.

Cincinnati was the 19th of SMU's 34 opponents to shoot 40 percent or worse this season.

SMU will open the NCAA Tournament as the sixth seed in the East Region on Friday against the victor of the game between Providence and USC.

Cincinnati moves on to the finals, where it will face top-seeded SMU.

CINCINNATI'S CALIFORNIA TIES Friday will make UC's sixth NCAA Tournament game in the state of California.