BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Perrin Buford had 11 of his 14 points in the second half Wednesday and Middle Tennessee held off a late rally to beat Charlotte 63-60 in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament.
Reggie Upshaw drove through the lane and finished a soaring two-handed dunk over Mike Thorne Jr. with 30 seconds left that gave No. 6 seed Middle Tennessee (17-15) the lead for good at 62-60.
The Blue Raiders' Giddy Potts left the door open for 11th-seeded Charlotte (14-18) by making only 1 of 2 free throws with 8.9 seconds left. But Terrence Williams missed an open 3-point attempt for the 49ers at the buzzer.
Thorne's free throws with 1:23 left capped a 14-4 run and gave Charlotte a 60-58 lead. Buford tied it back up on a jumper 11 seconds later.
Middle Tennessee advanced to face No. 3 seed Old Dominion in the quarterfinals on Thursday.