Wednesday night, the UTEP Miners squandered a good opportunity to retain first place in Conference USA. Southern Miss. is a good team at home, but the Miners seemed to lose their composure late in the second half.  The Miners went into the locker room up 29-26.  At home the Miners are a great second half team, but have a tendency to fade on the road.  The Miners built up a double digit lead in the second half before Southern Miss. went on a tear to close the game.  UTEP shot a miserable 11 of 39 in the second half, and couldn't stop R.L. Horton or D.J. Newbill.  The Lone bright spot for the Miners was Claude Britten.  Britten got a rare start and scored 21 points in 18 minutes.  Despite the loss, the Miners remain in second place in C-USA, a half game behind victorious Memphis.  UTEP will have to shake this loss quickly and regroup for an NBA like three game in five night stretch starting Saturday at home versus Houston.