SMU players had a long plane ride home after Sunday’s loss to Temple.

But their moods improved after arriving on campus and seeing students camped in front of the ticket office.

On Wednesday night, the Mustangs made it worth the wait. They showed their gratitude by winning the game those fans so wanted to see.

The Mustangs’ 68-64 victory over Houston increased their home winning streak to 14 games, third longest in school history. Their fifth sellout at Moody Coliseum matched the school record set in 1984-85.

By improving its record to 21-6 overall and 10-4 in the American Athletic Conference, SMU also inched closer to a possible NCAA Tournament bid.

“At Temple, it was tough,” guard Ryan Manuel said. “Playing at Moody is a great experience. It helped us tonight.”

This one did not have the significance of beating a ranked team, which SMU has done three times in the eight games at renovated Moody. Nor was it a dominating performance, which has become a home staple.

With former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura sitting courtside and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban smiling to the in-house video crew, the Mustangs were overmatched in Q-ratings.

They also were struggling to stay with the Cougars (12-14, 4-9).

The Mustangs made only three of their first nine shots and had only seven points in the first 8:14. The Cougars made four 3-pointers in that span and led for much of the first half.

Houston’s biggest lead was eight points with 13:35 left in the first half.

But the Mustangs finally found some offense, scoring on consecutive trips to cut their deficit to 26-25 with 3:23 left and finished with a 32-30 halftime lead.

SMU coach Larry Brown, disappointed in his team’s effort at Temple, could sense a change once they returned home.

“The thing that was most disappointing was we didn’t bring it,” Brown said. “We got outplayed. I think it was helpful when we got off the bus and saw the students. When our kids saw the students camping out, it sunk it because a lot of people care about how we’re doing.”