Evans sparks Rice's win over Southern Miss in C-USA tourney

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Marcus Evans made five 3-pointers and scored 26 points, Marcus Jackson added 20 points, and No. 5 seed Rice beat 12th-seeded Southern Mississippi 86-75 on Wednesday in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament.

Rice (22-10), which has won nine of 11, will face No. 4 seed UTEP on Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Southern Miss jumped out to a 12-2 lead with seven points from Quinton Campbell. But Rice rallied to take a 35-33 lead on Evans' wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:10 to go in the first half. Rice shot 50 percent in the half, including 7 of 15 from distance, but was hurt by 11 turnovers.

Rice was ahead 68-67 and Evans scored the next nine points for a 10-point lead with 3:20 to go.

Egor Koulechov made eight straight free throws and had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Rice, which was 29 of 32 from the line.

Campbell led Southern Miss (9-22) with 23 points and eight rebounds. Cortez Edwards added 21 points with eight assists and Michael Ramey scored 10. The Golden Eagles have lost six straight in the series — including three times this season.

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