Keeping Score

USM earns win over UTEP to get back in NCAA picture

Matt Bingaya and Aaron Brown both had the best games of their careers as Southern Miss pulled off a big 77-68 victory over UTEP on Saturday.

Both Brown and Bingaya had career highs in scoring and rebounding. Brown had 24 points and nine rebounds while Bingaya scored 21 and had seven boards.

The Golden Eagles knocked UTEP out of first place and improved to 23-5 and 10-3. USM is in a four-way tie for second place with UTEP, Louisiana Tech and Tulsa. Middle Tennessee is in first place with a record of 11-2.

USM's RPI jumped to No. 37 after beating UTEP Saturday, improving its position as an NCAA Tournament at-large bid candidate.

UTEP led 38-31 at halftime before Bingaya and Brown combined to lead USM back. Bingaya put up 15 points in the second half with Michael Craig on the bench still dealing with a mild high ankle sprain.

Craig played eight minutes in the first half, but Tyndall chose not to use him in the second half because Bingaya was playing so well.

USM takes on FIU in the final home game of the season at 6 p.m. on Thursday.