Pitts leads Marshall past Southern Miss 73-62

The Associated Press
Pitts leads Marshall past Southern Miss 73-62
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Marshall forward Dennis Tinnon (1) fights Southern Mississippi guard Neil Watson (5) for the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Conference USA tournament on Friday, March 9, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Damier Pitts scored 24 points, including 16 in the second half, as Marshall defeated Southern Mississippi 73-62 in the Conference USA semifinals Friday.

Pitts made 7 of 12 shots, including 4 of 6 outside the arc, for sixth-seeded Marshall (21-12), which will play Saturday in its first conference tournament final since the 1997 Southern Conference championship game. The Thundering Herd, which beat Tulsa 105-100 in three overtimes Thursday, will face top-seeded Memphis, an 83-52 winner over Central Florida.

DeAndre Kane added 14 points for Marshall, and Dennis Tinnon had 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Southern Mississippi (25-8), the second seed, was led by Angelo Johnson's 24 points. Darnell Dodson added 13.

Marshall shot 54.3 percent (25 of 46), including 9 of 17 (52.9 percent) on 3-pointers. That offset 16 Thundering Herd turnovers, compared to three by the Golden Eagles, who shot 34.2 percent (25 of 73).