- Associated Press - Saturday, February 1, 2014

DALLAS (AP) - Maybe there were too many coincidences going against No. 22 Memphis.

Or maybe SMU was just better Saturday, staying undefeated at home with an 87-72 win and the Tigers suffered their first conference road loss in two years.

“You don’t dwell on it,” guard Geron Johnson said.

Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown’s Mustangs (17-5, 6-3 American Athletic) took control with a 10-2 run in just over 3 minutes to start the second half. That grew to a 29-8 spurt by the second media timeout after halftime.

“We got punched in the mouth at the start of the second half and we didn’t recover,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. “As I told our guys in the postgame, there’s no time to have the woe-is-me syndrome, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. I was fine with our energy and effort. We just didn’t get the job done.”

The Tigers (16-5, 6-3), which moved with SMU from Conference USA to the AAC this season, had won 19 consecutive league road games - 16 in the regular season and three in the C-USA tournament last March - since a C-USA loss at Southern Mississippi exactly two years ago Saturday.

Memphis’ record is 27 consecutive conference road victories, a streak that ended with another loss at SMU four years ago.

Before SMU returned to its campus home in the newly renovated Moody Coliseum, it had been 10 years since the Mustangs defeated a Top 25 opponent.

Now the Mustangs have beaten two ranked teams in less than a month.

Markus Kennedy had 21 points and 15 rebounds and Nic Moore had 14 points with 10 assists, while also keying that game-turning run to start the second half.

SMU has already won two more games than in Brown’s debut on The Hilltop last season.

Moore had an assist on Kennedy’s tiebreaking layup right after halftime. Moore then added 3-pointers in the 10-2 spurt in just over 2 minutes that put SMU in full control. The Mustangs pushed ahead 56-36 only 7 minutes into the second half after Sterling Brown hit consecutive 3-pointers.

SMU overcame an eight-point deficit in the first half and got even at 29 when Moore followed his own miss with a short jumper with 6 seconds left in the first half.

“That was about 11 or 12 minutes about as good as we could play,” coach Larry Brown said. “We were unselfish, we defended.”

SMU is 11-0 at home this season, including all five games since moving back to Moody. The Mustangs re-opened their campus home with a 74-65 win Jan. 4 over then-No. 17 UConn, which was their first victory over a ranked opponent since December 2003, and their first campus sellout since two years before that.

There was another sellout Saturday, and now they have multiple victories over ranked teams in the same season since three in 1984-85.

The Mustangs have won six of seven overall, the loss 78-71 on Tuesday night at USF.

“Everybody when you get into conference play, you have got to realize everybody can beat you. We haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Brown said. “It’s one thing trying to beat a team that people don’t expect you to win, but it’s another learning how to win on the road against a team that people expect you to win. … It’s still a work in progress.”

Joe Jackson led Memphis with 22 points, while Johnson had 18 and Michael Dixon Jr. 13. Dominic Woodson had 11 rebounds.

Brown had 15 points, while Nick Russell added 11 points for the Mustangs, and Keith Frazier 10.

Memphis had won six of seven, including a four-game winning streak with those wins by an average margin of 17 points.

The Tigers built a 23-15 lead, their largest, when Johnson passed ahead to Jackson for an easy layup to cap an 11-0 run with about 7 minutes before halftime.

The first nine points for the Tigers in that stretch came during a 2-minute stretch when SMU had four turnovers that led directly to seven points.

But SMU recovered in a big way.

“They just came out they made shots, we went away from our game plan,” Johnson said. “They were a tougher basketball team today.”



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