Memphis 91, Southern Mississippi 79 (2 OT)

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchangeMarch 16, 2013


TULSA, Okla. -- Memphis blew a seven-point lead in the final 41 seconds of regulation and survived a last possession by Southern Mississippi at the end of the first overtime, but rolled in the second extra period to a 91-79 victory Saturday to claim its seventh Conference USA Tournament title.
The Tigers (30-4) earned their third consecutive NCAA tourney berth and their ninth in the last 11 years.
The Golden Eagles (25-9) will have to hope for an at-large bid for a second straight trip to the national tournament.
The Tigers could have put the game away in regulation had they hit their free throws after taking a 60-53 lead with under a minute left.
But Geron Johnson and Joe Jackson both missed the first of one-and-one opportunities in the closing seconds, and Neil Watson converted a layup with 0.1 on the clock to give Southern Mississippi a 62-62 tie.
The Eagles had an opportunity to win after Jackson hit a jumper to tie it, 72-72, with 11.7 seconds left in the first overtime, but Watson took too much time off the block and his jumper, which missed anyway, was late.
Memphis led, 78-77, going into the final two minutes of the second extra overtime before the Tigers went on a 9-0 run to clinch it.
The victory gave the Tigers a clean sweep in their final year in the C-USA, as they were unbeaten in league play during the regular season.
The final 12-point margin, which came when Antonio Barton threw in a 3-pointer right before time expired, gave them their third double-digit victory over the Eagles this season.
Chris Crawford led all scorers with 23 points, and Jackson added 19 for the Tigers. Devon Boardingham led Southern Mississippi with 19 points.