STORRS, Conn. -- Guards Nic Moore and Nick Russell each scored 15 points and forward Markus Kennedy added 13 as Southern Methodist went on the road Sunday and picked up a critical 64-55 American Athletic Conference victory over No. 21 Connecticut at Gampel Pavilion
SMU (22-6, 11-4 AAC) pounded the ball inside, scoring 24 points in the paint, and held UConn to 30 percent (16 of 54) overall shooting.
Guards Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier led the Huskies with 15 points each but combined to make just 8 of 28 shots and were 3-for-8 from 3-point range.
The Huskies finished with 16 turnovers.
UConn (21-6, 9-5) went eight minutes without a field goal in one stretch of the second half and fell behind 44-34 on a layup by SMU guard Ryan Manuel with 12:22 to play. The Huskies rallied to pull within 54-49 on a jumper by Shabazz Napier with 4:36 remaining but guard Sterling Brown responded with a 3-pointer that gave the Mustangs an eight-point lead with 3:15 left.
SMU shot 40.9 percent in the first half but managed a 27-25 halftime lead on two free throws by Kennedy with 22.2 seconds remaining. Both teams struggled offensively at the start of the game, combining to miss the first six shots. The first basket came at the 15:46 mark when Kennedy hit a jumper to give SMU a 2-0 lead.
The Mustangs ran out to a 7-0 lead on a layup by Kennedy with 14:10 left. UConn, which shot 34.6 percent in the first half, didn't score until forward Phil Nolan connected on a layup with 13:46 left. After forward Niels Giffey hit a 3-pointer for UConn to cut the lead to 7-5, the two teams had combined for 12 missed shots and 15 turnovers in just over eight minutes.
There was a short delay four minutes into the game when condensation on the floor caused Napier to slip on a shot. Time was taken to mop down the floor, which does not have ice under it but temperatures near 50 degrees after a stormy week in Connecticut could have been responsible.
NOTES: UConn honored the 15th anniversary of its 1999 national championship team at halftime. Starters Richard "Rip" Hamilton, Khalid El-Amin, Jake Voskuhl, Ricky Moore and Kevin Freeman were on hand. Moore and Freeman are now part of UConn's coaching staff. Also in attendance were Richard Moore, Beau Archibald, Souleymane Wane, assistant coaches Tom Moore and Karl Hobbs, and Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun. The team and El-Amin were both added to the "UConn Huskies of Honor" on the Gampel Pavilion wall. "It's an honor for me to be back in front of these great fans," El-Amin said. ... Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, in his second year at SMU, made his first appearance ever at Gampel. "I knew we'd be better this year, but I didn't know if our record would reflect that," Brown said before the game. "I think (the players) are proud of themselves, but in order for us to become really good, we have to prove that on the road against a quality team. Every game we're playing now is like a tournament game for us." ... SMU entered the game second in the nation in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 37.1 percent. The Mustangs' defense was holding opponents to 61.6 points per game.