Southern Miss. 63, Cincinnati 61
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—Jasper Johnson scored on a tip-in with 3.8 seconds left as Southern Mississippi upset Cincinnati 63-61 in the first round of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday night.
Greg Johnson scored 21 points and Charles Gaines added 15 for the 12th-seeded Golden Eagles (13-15), who snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Bearcats.
Jason Maxiell had 17 points and 12 rebounds for fifth-seeded Cincinnati (17-11), the three-time Conference USA tournament champion.
The Bearcats had won six of their seven previous Conference USA tournament openers.
They led 35-34 at halftime and were locked in a 46-46 tie seven minutes into the second half. Gaines converted a three-point play with 11:51 left to give the Eagles a 49-46 lead.
The Eagles twice pushed the lead to five, but Leonard Stokes hit a jumper from the wing with 4:15 left to forge a 57-57 tie.
The teams traded baskets into the final minute.
Greg Johnson sank two free throws with 54.2 seconds left to give the Eagles a 61-59 lead, but Stokes answered with a baseline turnaround with 40.6 seconds to go.
Out of a timeout, the Eagles ran a set play for Jasper Johnson, who missed a 3-pointer from the wing. Dante Stiggers ran down the loose ball in the corner and passed to Greg Johnson, who missed a one-handed shot from underneath the basket.
Jasper Johnson sneaked in from the weak side and tipped the ball in with his left hand.
Cincinnati called time out and set up a play, but Chadd Moore missed an 18-footer from the wing at the buzzer.
Southern Miss fans showered the court with beaded necklaces as the defeated Bearcats left the floor.
The Eagles will play No. 4 seed Saint Louis (15-12) in Thursday’s quarterfinals.