USM clinches spot in Conference USA Tournement

Cortez Edwards wows the crowd with a reverse dunk to cap off an amazing play against Marshall on Feb. 2.

Southern Miss clinched a spot in the Conference USA tournament over the weekend with a 76-53 win over North Texas on Saturday in Denton, Texas. The win came following an overtime loss to Rice on Thursday night in Houston.

On Thursday night against the Owls, the Golden Eagles came back from down 18 points in the second half to tie the game in the final minute of regulation to force overtime. Southern Miss sophomore guard Cortez Edwards made a jump shot with 35 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 67.

Southern Miss led for most of the overtime period. Sophomore guard Kevin Holland made a jump shot with 2:45 left to give Southern Miss a 71-68 lead, but this was the last score for the Golden Eagles. A Marcus Evans layup in the final seconds of overtime gave Rice a 72-71 win over Southern Miss.

Senior guard Quinton Campbell led Southern Miss with 18 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore guard Kevin Holland had 12 points. Junior guard Egor Koulechov led the Owls with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

On Saturday afternoon, the Golden Eagles beat North Texas on the back of another impressive performance from Campbell, who had 24 points and 13 rebounds in the Southern Miss win.

A 13-0 run in the first half gave Southern Miss a comfortable 32-15 lead with about five minutes left in the half. The Golden Eagles headed into the locker room with a 17-point lead at halftime and maintained a lead throughout the second half to clinch a 76-53 win.

The win guarantees Southern Miss a spot in the 12-team Conference USA tournament that begins on March 8. Head coach Doc Sadler and the Golden Eagles improved to 9-20 on the season and 6-11 in conference play. Southern Miss will play at Louisiana Tech on Saturday, March 4 at 1:00 p.m. in its final regular season game.