NCAA BK

Sun, Feb 16, 2014 - 2:00 PM ET
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SMU's victory in its first game as a ranked team in 29 years was also one of its most decisive road wins this season.

The No. 23 Mustangs might have a chance at an even better result Sunday when they visit struggling Temple, which sits in last place in the American Athletic Conference.

Leading scorer Nic Moore had 16 of his 21 points in the second half and made five 3-pointers Friday as SMU (20-5, 9-3) pulled away for a 77-65 win against Rutgers. The Mustangs were playing as a ranked team for the first time since March 1985.

"These are all learning experiences for us," coach Larry Brown said of playing as a Top 25 squad. "We talked about it. We haven't been there before. It's a growing process, but I thought we responded great."

SMU has earned 20 regular-season wins for the first time since 1999-2000, but is just 5-4 away from home. The 12-point win Friday tied its most lopsided road win this season.

"It's a lot different going on the road. I think we showed a lot tonight, but we've got another one Sunday," Brown said.

The Mustangs have one of the AAC's best defenses, allowing averages of 61.2 points and 36.9 percent shooting. They're giving up 66.8 points per game on the road but are averaging 68.2 at the other end of the floor.

SMU has a shot at boosting that mark and earning a season high-tying fifth straight win when it faces one of the worst defensive teams in the conference.

Temple (6-17, 1-10) is allowing 78.0 points per game overall and is among the nation's worst defensive teams at home, giving up an average of 81.6. It hasn't helped that the Owls have faced four ranked teams over their last five at home.

They've lost those games by an average of 13.5 points and were blown out 82-58 by No. 13 Louisville on Friday. Temple allowed its fourth consecutive visitor to shoot better than 51.0 percent after the Cardinals finished at 51.6.

Will Cummings scored a team-best 16 points and was one of two players in double figures. Leading scorer Dalton Pepper (17.0 points per game) matched a season low with seven on 3-of-10 shooting.

The Owls have lost 12 of 13 since the beginning of the new year and are 2-8 at home this season.

"Is it frustrating? Yeah, it is," said coach Fran Dunphy, whose program had won 21 or more games in each of its previous six seasons. "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. But we've got to keep plugging away."

Temple shot 37.3 percent against Louisville but had one of its worst performances in a 75-52 drubbing at SMU on Feb. 6. The Mustangs outshot the Owls 54.4 to 30.3 percent in that game.

The 30.3 percent mark was the lowest by an SMU opponent this season, and Temple also went 5 of 24 from 3-point range (20.8 percent). Shawn Williams, averaging 5.2 points, and Markus Kennedy each scored 14 to lead five Mustangs in double figures.

SMU, which is 1-2 all-time against the Owls, is making its first trip to Temple since a 53-41 loss on Jan. 7, 1938.

Tagged: Temple, Southern Methodist

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