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#21 UNLV Narrowly Defeats UTEP 62-60

UNLV Runnin Rebels team prior to tipoff with the Miners on 12/17/12. (Photo by Brandon Cohn.)

The Miners came so close to knocking off the 21st ranked team in the country, but a missed 3 point attempt by Konner Tucker at the buzzer, gave Vegas the win.

It was a heartbreaking loss for the Miners who trailed by 15 points in the second half.  For the third consecutive game, UTEP was able to finish strong, but couldn’t get the job done this time.  Jacques Streeter cut the Rebels’ lead to two by making a layup with 34 seconds remaining.

The crowd of 9,027 was ecstatic at that point, but all of their energy, excitement, and hope for a dramatic comeback victory ended with Tucker’s near 3 point miss as regulation expired.  The Miners were resilient, despite the fact that they were trailing UNLV most of the evening, they were still able to almost pull off the victory.

The Miners trailed 53-43 with under seven minutes remaining, then outscored UNLV 10-4 in a span of 3:10 to cut the deficit to 57-53.  UTEP hung in the game by shooting 48 percent from the field, and 50 percent from downtown.  Their free throw shooting was clutch as well, as they made 10 of 13 foul shots in the second half.

After the game I asked Coach Floyd about his decision to have Konner Tucker take the three point shot to go for the win with 4 seconds remaining.  He had this to say,

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UTEP’s difficult non conference schedule continues on Wednesday night as they host Oregon, a team that is 9-1, and defeated UNLV in Vegas, 83-79.  The Miners are now 3-5 on the season, but with all of these challenging non conference games, will most certainly be ready for a rigorous conference schedule, beginning next month.

 

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