By JOE KAY , AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Jarron Cumberland scored 24 points Saturday night, and Cincinnati let a 12-point lead slip away before rallying for a 73-68 victory over SMU.
Cumberland hit a 3-pointer after SMU tied it late, helping the Bearcats (19-3, 8-1 American Athletic) pull out their seventh straight victory.
SMU’s Jimmy Whitt Jr. hit a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left that cut it to 70-68. After Cincinnati’s Keith Williams made one of his two free throws, Jahmal McMurray was short on a 3-point attempt to tie it with 4.3 seconds left. Cane Broome sealed it with a pair of free throws.
McMurray had 21 points for SMU (12-9, 4-5), which has lost four of five.
The Bearcats made 8 of 17 from beyond the arc in the first half, when they led by as many as 12 points. Cumberland led the way with 13 points.
McMurray made a pair of 3s and a 15-foot jumper that sparked SMU’s second-half comeback, and Isiaha Mike’s 3 tied it 60-60 with 6:17 to go. SMU wasted chances to take the lead down the stretch.
SMU: The Mustangs had one matchup in their favor. They came in second in the league with 173 made 3-pointers, trailing only Houston, and they were facing the worst 3-point defense in the league. They failed to take advantage in the first half, going only 4 of 12 from beyond the arc, but got the shots to fall in the second half and finished 10 of 28 overall.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats continue to clean up on the AAC at home. They’ve lost only one league game at home in the last three seasons, to Wichita State last year.
SMU hosts South Florida on Thursday. The Mustangs finish the regular season at USF on March 10.
Cincinnati plays at Memphis on Thursday The Bearcats host Memphis on March 2.