One Of The Wildest UTEP Basketball Finishes Ever
If you one of the 10,508 fans at the Don Haskins Center last night, you were treated to one of the most dramatic finishes in recent memory. After playing a lackluster first half and trailing Florida Atlantic by as many as 20 points, the UTEP Miners came all the way back in the final 10 minutes. They actually took a one-point lead on a 3-point shot by C.J. Cooper with 12 seconds left to play. Unfortunately, FAU's Marquan Botley banked in a shot with two seconds left to win it for the Owls 71-69.
It seemed like UTEP had dug themselves to deep of a hole to climb out of, after a sluggish defensive start to the first 10 minutes of the basketball game. Even when they started to play better defense FAU could not miss many shots. Pablo Bertone and Botley led the way offensively, but Mike Jarvis' team played outstanding for most of the night. FAU made 10 of 20 3-point baskets and seemed to always have an answer whenever UTEP tried to come back. However, the Miners went on a 14-3 run over the game's final 3:30 to take the one-point lead. Vince Hunter led four Miners in double figures with 18 points. Botley's lucky bank shot sent the Miners fans home disappointed, yet most left the arena proud of the home team's effort and never-say-die approach.
As for the the crowd, they were electric for much of the second half as the Miners tried to come back from the large deficit. I was especially impressed by the UTEP students, who packed two sections last night. Maybe it was the free 400 "Black Out The Don" T-shirts they received from Palo Verde Homes. Maybe it was because the UTEP Pep Band was competing at an event in San Antonio. Regardless of the reason, their presence was felt in the arena, and the rest of the crowd fed off of their energy. If the students could be like that for every game, I am certain the UTEP marketing department would make room for them at future home games.