MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jarron Cumberland had two late three-point plays and finished with 26 points to help No. 24 Cincinnati beat SMU 82-74 on Friday night in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals.
Justin Jenifer and Tre Scott added 17 points, with Jenifer making all six shots — five from 3-point range — for the second-seeded Bearcats. Scott also had 12 rebounds. Cincinnati (26-6) will face Temple-Wichita State winner in the semifinals.
Jimmy Whitt Jr. led the Mustangs (15-17) with a career-high 24 points. Jahmal McMurray added 18.
Tied at 66 with 4:53 remaining, the Bearcats steadily pulled away with Cumberland taking over. His three-point plays came with 3:46 remaining and 2:21. The Mustangs missed shots and were left to foul in hopes of cutting into the lead.
The Mustangs, coming off a 74-65 victory over Tulsa on Thursday, shot 51.7 percent, while Cincinnati made 50.8 percent of its shots.
SMU: The Mustangs fought valiantly to stay with the Bearcats and did a good job of it until the final minutes. The game had seven ties and five lead changes. Whitt, who had the responsibility of guarding Cumberland, did an admirable job and added an offensive punch.
CINCINNATI: Jenifer’s perfect shooting night kept the Bearcats seemingly in control despite the fight from SMU. The Bearcats outrebounded SMU 36-28, and that included 16 off the offensive glass, leading to 17 second-chance points.
Cincinnati: Semifinals Saturday against the Temple-Wichita State winner.