Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Jermaine Sanders scored 15 points and Farad Cobb added 14 off the bench to help Cincinnati to a 62-54 road victory over No. 23 SMU on Thursday night.
Sanders also pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and Troy Caupain also supplied 14 points for the Bearcats (16-6, 7-3 AAC), who have won five of their last six.
"It was the Bearcat way tonight. We kept defending and rebounding when our offense was horrible," Bearcats interim coach Larry Davis said.
Cincinnati took a 56-50 win over SMU at home on Jan. 3.
Cannen Cunningham paced the Mustangs (18-5, 9-2) with 14 points and Sterling Brown had 12. Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy were held to 15 points combined on 4-of-17 shooting, with Moore going 1-for-8 from the floor in the setback.
"We weren't prepared offensively at all. We didn't handle their zone or their matchup very well," SMU coach Larry Brown said.
SMU was denied its ninth straight win, which would have been its first nine-game run since 1997-98.
Sanders knocked down a corner 3 to cap a 10-2 run that gave the Bearcats a 53-46 lead with 4:47 to play in the second.
With just over two minutes left and Cincinnati up by five, Brown followed his own miss for a layup that made it a 55-52 game. Shaquille Thomas responded at the other end with a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock was set to expire.
Each team gave the ball up over the next two possessions, then Kennedy came up with an offensive rebound of Moore and his put-back cut the deficit to four with under a minute left.
The Bearcats made their free throws in the closing seconds, however, and they held on to sweep the season series.
Sanders opened the second half with a three-point play that started an 8-1 run for a 28-26 Bearcats lead.
Moore followed with three free throws after getting fouled from beyond the arc. He hit a 3-pointer moments later as part of a 10-2 run and SMU moved in front 36-30 with 13 1/2 minutes to play.
Caupain then nailed a 3-pointer that capped a 7-0 burst for the Cincinnati that gave it a one-point lead and the game remained tight down the stretch.
Cincinnati went 7-of-11 from the floor in the first half, but found itself trailing at halftime due in large part to 13 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Cunningham's layup with over seven minutes left gave the Mustangs a 17-9 lead, then the Bearcats responded with a quick 7-2 burst to close the gap.
SMU maintained its edge and brought a 25-20 lead into the locker room at the break.
Cincinnati is 5-2 in the all-time series ... The Bearcats are 6-2 against ranked opponents over the past two seasons ... SMU had won 31 of its last 33 at home ... Cincinnati outrebounded the Mustangs 32-25.