EL PASO, Texas – Sophomore guard Chris Thomas (Denver) scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds as No. 14 seed Marshall topped 11th-seeded Florida Atlantic 63-59 in a first round game of the Conference USA tournament Tuesday night.
Freshman point guard Kareem Canty (Harlem, N.Y.) added 12 points for Marshall (11-21, 5-12 C-USA), which will face sixth-seeded Old Dominion on Wednesday.
The Thundering Herd overcame a poor shooting performance (24-of-63 from the field and 5-of-20 from 3-point range) by forcing 15 FAU turnovers and grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.
Marshall took a 36-29 lead into halftime and 3-pointers by Canty and Thomas pushed the Thundering Herd's lead to 11 with 8:32 remaining.
The Owls used a 9-0 run to pull within two, 55-53, with 3:52 to play but would get no closer.
Thomas and Tamron Manning each made a pair of free throws in the final minute to hold off Florida Atlantic (10-22).
Marquan Botley scored 26 and Pablo Bertone added 21 for the Owls.
Marshall will now play No. 6 Old Dominion on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET inside the Don Haskins Center with a chance to advance to play No. 3 Middle Tennessee, Thursday afternoon.