"It's great to be back with my teammates. ... " Hurdle said. "The adrenaline was flowing. I felt like a kid on Christmas."
Hurdle's 22 minutes of play included a clutch 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer to give the Hurricanes a 36-24 lead at the University of the Virgin Islands.
Grinning widely, Hurdle jogged backward as the buzzer blared and his jubilant teammates crowded around him on the way to the locker room.
"Lance Hurdle -- his play was crucial," said Miami coach Frank Haith, adding that his team did a good job keeping the Golden Eagles out of the paint.
The Golden Eagles outrebounded the Hurricanes 35-33, but Miami shot 44.7 percent from the floor while holding Southern Miss to 39 percent in a game that had three lead changes and two ties.
Senior guard Jack McClinton had 13 points for Miami, but Haith said he was "pressing" too much.
"We'll see normal Jack here pretty soon," said Haith, who has led the Canes to three postseason appearances in four seasons.
Miami, which entered the season with its highest preseason ranking, took a 15 point-lead with 4:37 remaining and never looked back.
Junior guard Jeremy Wise led Southern Miss with 21 points, and Courtney Beasley added 14 points.
Golden Eagles coach Larry Eustachy did not speak to reporters after the game. Assistant Steve Barnes said the coaches were "disappointed in our lack of execution and our defensive breakdowns."
Miami, which has its best ranking since they were No. 17 on Feb. 18, 2002, will next play the winner of Friday night's game between No. 2 Connecticut and La Salle. Southern Miss will take on the loser. The Hurricanes' game will tip at 6 p.m. (EST) on Sunday and will be broadcast on Fox College Sports.