In the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference, there's a big disparity in the top five teams in men's basketball and bottom five teams.
The goal is not to play in the 4/5 game in the AAC Tournament in a few weeks. The reason being is that it'll be a tougher game than anyone else will face.
Right now the UConn Huskies, SMU Mustangs and the hometown Memphis Tigers are jockeying for that third position. UConn's already beaten Memphis twice this season.
And now, SMU has beaten UConn two times this season as they beat the Huskies 64-55 in front of a sold-out crowd at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, CT on Sunday afternoon.
UConn falls to 21-6 (9-5 American, 5th place) while Southern Methodist improves to 22-6 (11-4, 3rd place).
The Huskies were led by Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright who both had 15 points. They were a combined 8-of-28 from the floor (28.5%). In fact the UConn team as a whole shot 29.6% (16-of-54) in the game.
Nic Moore and Nick Russell paced the Mustangs with 15 points a piece. Markus Kennedy added 13 points and seven rebounds while Sterling Brown pulled down a team-high eight rebounds to go along with six points.
Both teams started out the game a combined 0-for-7 before Kennedy put SMU ahead for good at 2-0. They would start the game out on a 7-0 run and never trailed in the game.
The Huskies would battle back and keep it close in the first half trailing by just two points at the half.
But it wouldn't take long for the Mustangs to seize control as they increased their lead to 10 points in the second half. And they were never really challenged by the cold-shooting Huskies.
An absolutely terrible offensive game for the Huskies who don't matchup well with SMU. The Mustangs are a little bigger and more physical and given UConn's reliance on its guard play, sometimes this things just don't work out.
You'd rather see UConn have a bad offensive game now than later down the road. So hopefully they got it out of their system and will play some inspired basketball in the final three games of the AAC regular season.
The Huskies are back in action on Wednesday night when they'll take on the South Florida Bulls at the Sun Dome in Tampa. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Here are UConn's postgame quotes.
Here are UConn's postgame notes.
photo credit: michael mcandrews – hartford courant