UNIVERSITY PARK– Just 78 seconds into the 2nd half, SMU head coach Tim Jankovich was forced to call a timeout. His group’s one-point lead was erased by 2 consecutive 3-pointers by Houston.

At that point, nobody had actually led by more than five points. At that point, each group had responded to the other punch-for-punch. But a 17-3 Cougars run, punctuated by the shots to start the 2nd half was the separation in Houston’s 74-60 win over SMU.

This was a huge game for the Mustangs. It was hosting the No. 5 group in the nation, wanting to make a declaration that it was the early favorite in the American Athletic Conference. More importantly, it had a possibility to make a declaration about going back to nationwide relevance. A win most likely would have included an AP Top 25 ranking in the morning.

But the 18 Houston offensive rebounds, compared to 22 SMU defensive rebounds is a total too hard to get rid of. So too was the 6-for-21 3-point shooting for SMU. Kendric Davis was amazing, scoring 23 points and taping 8 rebounds and 4 helps.

Feron Hunt tallied 12 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and two takes. SMU as a team had 8 blocks and seven takes. It was possibly the more athletic group. However the harder team was Houston, which muscled its method on the glass. Justin Gorham had 19 rebounds for the Cougars.

The Mustangs went out to its biggest lead after Kendric Davis tore down a 3-pointer, and Ethan Chargois tossed a pass off the backboard on a breakaway, only for Hunt to catch the ball and soak it. That put SMU up 30-25 in the final minutes of the first half.

But Houston scored 17 of the next 20 points. And as an outcome, the Cougars had the ability to avenge a last-second loss to the Mustangs from a season ago.

With eight minutes to go, SMU had cut the Cougars lead to four points. A missed Cougars shot was rebounded by Houston, which drew a foul a tick before the shot clock ended.

With about 3 minutes to go in the second half, SMU had actually cut the Cougars result in 8 points. Again, an offensive rebound led to 3 points for Houston.

That’s how it appeared to go each time the Mustangs had an opportunity in this video game. Momentum was quashed by a put-back– a second-chance group that defines itself on second chances.

The nation’s fifth-best offensive rebounding group absolutely dominated the offending glass. And it kept SMU searching for in the standings at the very best group in the conference.

Find more SMU stories from The Dallas Morning News here.

Find more college sports stories from The Dallas Early Morning News here.