DALLAS — Cannen Cunningham scored 17 points to lead SMU to a 68-54 victory Wednesday night over UC-Irvine in the first round of the NIT, giving Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown his first college postseason victory in 26 years.
Ben Moore added 11 points in the Mustangs' first NIT win since 2000. Nick Russell had 10.
Top-seeded SMU, which was ranked as high as No. 18 this month, lost its final three games of the season to miss out on the 68-team NCAA tournament. The Mustangs will face LSU in the second round
SMU (24-9) used a 23-7 run in the second half to erase a 35-29 deficit.
Luke Nelson led No. 8 seed UC-Irvine (23-12) with 13 points, and sophomore Alex Young chipped in 10 points.