SMU starts strong, holds off UTEP 57-48

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DALLAS (AP) -- Robert Nyakundi scored 14 points and Southern Methodist opened the game with a 25-7 run en route to a 57-48 victory over UTEP on Saturday.

The Mustangs (13-18, 4-12 Conference USA) will enter next week's conference tournament as either the 11th or 12th seed, while UTEP (14-16, 7-9) will be the No. 8 or No. 9 seed.

Nyakundi opened the game with a pair of 3-pointers and a two-point basket as SMU took a 10-2 lead. Rodney Clinkscales finished off the opening-game surge with back-to-back 3-pointers that put the Mustangs ahead 25-7 with 6:38 remaining in the half.

UTEP, which hit just 3 of 13 shots and had five turnovers during that stretch, pulled within 33-24 by halftime but fell behind by as many as 21 points in the second half.

Julian Washburn led the Miners with 21 points.

Clinkscales had a season-high 11 for SMU.