BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) KJ Buffen scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help UAB beat Southern Miss 88-60 on Tuesday night in the opening round of the NIT.

UAB (26-9) moves on to face the winner of the Clemson-Morehead State game.

UAB took the first double-digit lead of the game with 4:04 remaining in the first half following an 18-4 run to make it 37-26. But Southern Miss closed on a 12-4 run to get within 41-38 at the break.

Southern Miss scored the opening six points of the second half for its first lead since 22-21 midway through the first. But Buffen scored six straight points to begin a 14-0 run that put UAB ahead by double figures for good. The Blazers ended the game on a 13-2 run as Southern Miss only made one field goal in the final five minutes.

Jordan Walker added 16 points, Trey Jemison had 14 and Ledarrius Brewer scored 10 for UAB.

DeAndre Pinckney scored 15 points for Southern Miss (25-8). Austin Crowley and Nico Aguirre each scored 13 points.

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