Nic Moore has 22 points for No. 21 SMU in 74-63 win over ECU
DALLAS (AP) Nic Moore had 22 points, including four 3-pointers after halftime, and seven assists as No. 21 SMU beat East Carolina 74-63 on Sunday.
Markus Kennedy added 19 points while Jordan Tolbert had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Mustangs (22-4, 10-4 American), who have alternated losses and wins in their last eight games since an 18-0 start.
SMU never trailed after an 8-0 run going into the halftime, and took the lead for good when Moore hit consecutive 3s in a 27-second span after that.
Prince Williams had 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting for East Carolina (10-17, 2-12), the AAC last-place team which lost its sixth consecutive game. Kentrell Barkley added 15 points and Caleb White had 14.
East Carolina was even at 38-all on Michael Zangari’s short floater with 17:19 left. That was the sixth and final tie of the game.
Moore made a 3-pointer from the top of the key only 9 seconds after that, then after a Pirates miss hit another 3 from nearly the same spot. When White hit a 3 for ECU, Moore responded with another 3 - this one from the right wing when he started the ball movement that led to him being left wide open.
While coach Larry Brown’s Mustangs are banned because of NCAA sanctions from postseason play, and can’t play in the American Athletic Conference tournament, they are still in contention to win the league’s regular-season title for the second year in a row.
Temple, the first team to beat SMU this season, went into its game Sunday night at Houston at 10-3 in the league. Cincinnati was 10-5 in the AAC after its win Saturday over UConn, which beat the Mustangs on Thursday night.
East Carolina had a 35-28 lead when Barkley made a 3-pointer with 4:27 left in the first half, which came after Moore’s attempted alley-oop pass was stolen by Zangari and started the break the other way.
The Pirates missed their last field goal attempts and two free throws the rest of the half.
Tolbert started SMU’s half-ending 8-0 run for the lead after a pass from Markus Kennedy whose second basket in the spurt was a layup with 1:44 left in the half for a 36-35 lead. Moore made a jumper between the Kennedy baskets.
East Carolina: The Pirates made 12 of 24 3-pointers. ... East Carolina’s last win was 64-61 over Temple on Jan. 27, three days after the Owls handed SMU its first loss of the season. ... Like SMU’s Larry Brown, East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo played collegiately at North Carolina for Dean Smith. Lebo also played for Brown with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs during the 1989-90 season.
SMU: Tolbert has his sixth double-double this season, matching the number he had over 91 games at Texas Tech (2011-14) before transferring to SMU for his senior season. ... The Mustangs are 14-1 this season at home, and 76-21 overall since the start of the 2013-14 season.
East Carolina at Tulane on Wednesday night.
SMU at Memphis on Thursday night.