FRISCO, Texas (AP) - Jon Elmore scored 26 points and drained a timely 3-pointer after a seemingly comfortable lead disappeared to hold off Southern Miss 85-75 in the Conference USA semifinals on Friday and advance to the championship game for the second-straight year.
Marshall (23-10), the No. 4 seed, will meet no. 2 seed Old Dominion or third-seeded Western Kentucky in Saturday's championship game.
Ninth-seeded Southern Miss (16-18), which toppled two-time defending champion and No. 1-seeded Middle Tennessee, 71-68, in overtime in the quarterfinals, put a scare into Marshall. The Golden Eagles steadily whittled a 24-point gap down to six, 71-65, with three minutes left. Marshall had gone without a field goal for the better part of six minutes and SMU was on an 11-0 run.
That's when Elmore stepped up to hit the big 3-pointer with 2:13 remaining, to blunt the Golden Eagles rally. Marshall was 10-for-10 at the line in the last 1:14.
Elmore was 7 of 7 at the line and made five 3-pointers with nine rebounds and nine assists. Jannson Williams added 17 points.
Cortez Edwards led the Southern Miss comeback with 30 points on 12 of 19 shooting, his fourth-straight game of 20 or more. Tyree Griffin added 19.
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