EL PASO, Texas - Aaron Brown scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and Michael Craig added 12 as Southern Miss advanced to the Conference USA tournament with a 64-56 victory over UTEP on Thursday night.
Craig also grabbed 12 rebounds and the No. 4 seeded Golden Eagles (27-5) out-rebounded UTEP 45-28, including 20-7 offensive boards.
Southern Miss opened with a 10-4 run capped by back-to-back dunks by Craig, but No. 5 seeded UTEP pulled ahead 24-22 on free throws by Jake Flaggert.
Southern Miss led 28-24 at halftime after consecutive layups by Chip Armelin. Neither team hit a 3-pointer in the half on nine attempts each.
Southern Miss used second-half runs of 11-3 and 9-2 to lead 51-37. UTEP rallied with an 8-0 run to close to 51-48, but got no closer.
Julian Washburn led the Miners (23-10) with 16 points and Vince Hunter added 14.
UTEP still has a chance at a post-season tournament with the NIT and CBI as possibilities.