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Temple-SMU preview

Temple vs. SMU

What: American Athletic Conference semifinal

When/Where: Saturday 3 p.m. XL Center, Hartford Connecticut (16,294).

TV/Radio: ESPN2/WPHT 1210-AM.

SMU (25-6)


Ben Moore 6-8 So., 7.3 ppg., 4.8 rpg.

Cannen Cunningham 6-10 Sr., 6.3 ppg., 3.5 rpg.

Yanick Moreira 6-11 Sr., 11.3 ppg., 6.4 rpg.

Ryan Manuel 6-4 Sr., 6.7 ppg., 3.4 rpg.

Nic Moore 5-9 Jr., 14.5 ppg., 5.2 apg.

Key reserves

Markus Kennedy, 6-9 Jr., 11.3 ppg., 6.0 rpg.

Ben Emelogu 6-6 So., 2.8 ppg., 1.7 rpg.

Sterling Brown 6-6 Sr. 5.3 ppg., 4.2 rpg.

Coach: Larry Brown (10th season, 244-94; 3rd season at SMU, 67-33)

TEMPLE (22-9)


*Jaylen Bond 6-8 Jr., 8.0 ppg., 8.1 rpg.

Devontae Watson 6-11 Jr., 2.5 ppg., 3.1 rpg.

Will Cummings 6-2 Sr., 14.4 ppg., 4.3 apg.

Jesse Morgan 6-5 Sr., 11.9 ppg., 3.3 rpg.

Quenton DeCosey 6-5 Jr., 12.3 ppg., 4.4 rpg.

Key reserves

Obi Enechionyia 6-9 Fr., 4.9 ppg., 3.5 rpg.

Josh Brown 6-2 So., 6.3 ppg., 3.2 rpg.

Daniel Dingle 6-7 So., 2.3 ppg., 2.2 rpg.

Devin Coleman 6-3 Jr., 3.5 ppg., 2.4 rpg.

*Ankle injury, status uncertain.

Coach: Fran Dunphy (26th season, 500-269; 9th season at Temple, 189-106).

Last game: Behind 20 points and five assists from Nic Moore, SMU defeated East Carolina, 74-68 in an AAC quarterfinal on Friday. Temple, with Will Cummings scoring 17 of his 21 points in the second dhalf, defeated Memphis, 80-75 in an AAC quarterfinal on Friday.

This season's meetings: SMU overcame a 13-point second half deficit to win at Temple, 60-55 on Jan. 14. AAC Sixth Man of the Year Markus Kennedy scored 21 points and seven rebounds, while shooting 9 for 11 from the field. Jesse Morgan led the Owls with 15 points. Kennedy began his career at Villanova.

In the rematch, SMU pulled away in the final three minutes to defeat the Owls, 67-58 on Feb. 19. Nic Moore had 18 points and four assists (along with six turnovers). Will Cummings was Temple's lone double-figure scorer with 14 points.

All-time series: Tied 3-3.

Fast fact: SMU won the regular season AAU title. It was the Mustangs first league title since winning the Southwest Conference in 1993.

Trending: Temple has won four straight and 11 of 13. SMU has won seven of eight.

Key stat: SMU leads the AAC in scoring offense (69.7 ppg.) and is second in scoring defense (60.1). Temple is averaging 65.1 points and allowing 60.3.

Key development: Temple's Jaylen Bond, the AAC rebounding leader, suffered a sprained ankle late in the first half and didn't return. His status is unknown for the semifinal. Even with Bond, the Mustangs have a decided advantage inside. Temple had success going with four guards in the quarterfinal win over Memphis and could use that alignment.

And finally: Temple could very well already be in the NCAA Tournament, but it can't be said with absolute certainty. A win over the Mustangs would change that. Meanwhile SMU and Cincinnati are already considered NCAA locks from the AAC.