FRISCO, Texas -- Cortez Edwards scored 29 points with seven rebounds and six assists and Southern Mississippi held on to edge Florida International 69-68 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament.
No. 9 seed Southern Miss (15-17) now heads to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Middle Tennessee on Thursday.
The teams were tied at 55 with 2:51 to play when a Dominic Magee free throw gave Southern Miss the lead for good, and an Edwards layup followed by a D'Angelo Richardson 3-pointer, stretched it to 61-57 with 1:45 left. FIU stayed close and Brian Beard Jr. sank a 3-pointer as time expired for the final score.
Richardson added 11 points for the Golden Eagles and Magee led the team with 14 rebounds and scored nine points.
Beard led the No. 8 seed Golden Panthers (14-18) with 30 points and seven assists.