Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Justin Jackson scored 17 points and blocked five shots to lead the Cincinnati Bearcats to a 65-57 victory over the SMU Mustangs in each team's American Athletic Conference opener at Fifth Third Arena.
Jackson also had five steals and six rebounds for Cincinnati (12-2, 1-0 AAC). Sean Kilpatrick added 13 points but he netted just 3-of-12 shots from the field. Shaquille Thomas and Jermaine Sanders each tallied 10 points as well.
Markus Kennedy scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench to pace SMU (10-3, 0-1).
Cincinnati clung to a 32-30 lead at halftime despite shooting at just a 30.8 percent clip. The Beracats hit 4-of-11 shots from beyond the arc and 12-of-13 attempts at the free-throw line to make up for the poor offensive efficiency. SMU hit on 44.4 percent from the floor but had just a single 3-pointer and a 5-of-5 showing from the charity stripe.
In the second half Cincinnati improved to 42.3 percent shooting and enjoyed another scoring advantage from the free-throw line (11-3) to hold off the Mustangs.
SMU owned a 32-30 edge on the boards but had more than twice as many turnovers (17) as Cincinnati (eight).