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Memphis Escapes Southern Miss Rally With 66-63 Win

Memphis withstood a second-half rally from Southern Miss and advanced to the Conference USA tournament semi-finals, where they will face 8-seed East Carolina.

The Golden Eagles' offense was slow out of the gates, and with 5:30 left in the first half, they were getting doubled up, 26-13. But USM managed to flip the switch, cut the lead to eight by halftime, and tie the score at 48 on a pair of R.L. Horton free throws with 7:41 remaining.

It was neck-and-neck the rest of the way, but it appeared that Memphis had the game in hand when Will Barton's free throws gave them a 64-59 lead with 21 seconds to play. However, Ahyaro Phillips tipped in a USM miss at the other end to cut the lead to three, and when Joe Jackson of Memphis lost the ball out of bounds, Phillips came up with another tip-in to draw the Golden Eagles within one. Jackson was fouled and made both ensuing free throws to extend the lead to three.

Gary Flowers then missed a contested three in the waning seconds, and D.J. Newbill grabbed an offensive rebound and banked in what appeared to be a tying three-pointer, but the shot was released clearly after the buzzer sounded.

Jackson's 15 points off the bench paced the Tigers, while Horton poured in a game-high 19.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.