Ben Moore added 11 points and seven rebounds for top-seeded
Southern Methodist (24-9) and Nick Russell had 10 points. Nic Moore
added seven points, eight assists, four steals and four rebounds for
the Mustangs, who will play No. 5 LSU in the second round.
Luke Nelson led eighth-seeded UC Irvine (23-12) with 13 points and
Alex Young added 10 points. Will Davis II had nine points and 11
rebounds while 7-6 freshman center Mamadou Ndiaye had seven points,
12 rebounds and seven blocks.
Young hit the Anteaters' fourth 3-pointer of the first half for a
30-22 lead with three minutes left but SMU finished the half on a
7-0 run, capped by Cunningham's dunk after Nic Moore's steal.
Sterling Brown hit two 3-pointers to power a 19-4 run by the
Mustangs that gave them a 48-39 lead with 10 1/2 minutes left and
the Anteaters never got closer than six.
[to top of second column]
Cunningham later scored seven straight points for SMU, including a
jumper from the foul line with just under two minutes left for a
60-52 lead. The Mustangs held UC Irvine to 22.6 percent shooting and
forced eight turnovers in the second half after the Anteaters shot
52.2 percent in the first half.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Ndiaye finishes the season with a school-record 106
blocked shots after his fifth game with at least seven blocks. ...
SMU lost first-round NIT games in its only other appearances in 1986
and 2000. ... Nic Moore has recorded eight assists in back-to-back
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