Southern Miss earns No. 4 seed in Conference USA tournament

NEW ORLEANS (AP/WLOX) - Matt Bingaya and Aaron Brown each finished with 14 points and six rebounds, pacing Southern Miss past Tulane 68-51 Thursday night to clinch a share of the Conference USA regular-season title.

It's the first Conference USA regular-season tie since five teams finished with the same intra-conference record in 2004.

The Golden Eagles (26-5, 13-3) share the top spot in the standings with Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee. They shot 49.1 percent from the field and went 11 of 20 from deep, with Jerrold Brooks hitting four 3-pointers to finish with 12 points.

Tulane (16-15, 8-8) shot 42.9 percent, but went 4 of 16 beyond the arc. Tomas Bruha and Jay Hook each scored 12 points, and Jonathan Stark added 10.

Southern Miss was leading 17-14, but pulled away, closing the first half on a 19-8 run fueled by a pair of Brooks 3-pointers.

Tulane pulled within nine in the second half, but two Neil Watson 3-pointers helped push the Southern Miss lead to 68-49 with 2:02 remaining.

Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee State, Tulsa and Louisiana Tech each held 12-3 records within the conference heading into Thursday's games. All four of those teams came away with victories.

After tiebreakers, Louisiana Tech will be the top seed when the conference tournament begins with the first round Mon., March 11. However, the four aforementioned teams will each have double byes, meaning they won't play until the quarterfinal round Wed., March 13.

Southern Miss will be the No. 4 seed and their opponent will be either No. 5 UTEP, No. 12 East Carolina or No. 13 Texas-San Antonio.

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