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UTEP Defeats Rice With A Tremendous Second Half Performance

UTEP vs. Rice in front of 11,036 fans at the Don Haskins Center. (photo by Brandon Cohn)

The UTEP Miners continued their impressive winning streak by knocking off Rice 68-57 in front of 11,036 fans on Saturday night.  UTEP has now won six consecutive games and eleven of their last twelve contests.  Their record improved to 16-6, 6-1 in C-USA and they remain tied for first place with Southern Miss.  It was the tale of two halves for the Miners, they shot 30.8 percent form the field in the first half, scoring only 9 points with 8 minutes remaining in the opening half.

UTEP was outrebounded 23-15 in the first half and went into the locker room at halftime down 30-21 to the Owls.  The Miners were a completely different team in the second half, scoring at will, and playing relentless defense.  Trailing 47-38  with under 10 minutes remaining UTEP went on an epic 30-10 run to finish game.  Their defense completely shut down Rice allowing only two field goals in the final 9:42 of the game.

Rice was able to stay in the game and tie it up at 51 with 5:44 left, but UTEP’s offense proved to be too much as they scored the next 11 points to secure the win and sweep their three game home stand.  C. J. Cooper scored 17 points in the game, all of which came in the second half.  Cooper also completed a four point play, the first for the Miners this season that ignited their second half rally.

Vince Hunter continues to be a vital part of the Miners arsenal as he scored 14 points, while Julian Washburn added 17 points.  Following the game Coach Floyd discussed the victory, crowd support, and various other things as well.  Here is his complete post game press conference.

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UTEP will have their work cut out for them as they will be on the road for six of their final nine games.  They will play at East Carolina next Thursday.  This team has faced adversity all season long and it certainly hasn’t slowed them down to this point as they continue their incredible winning streak.  March Maddness is just around the corner, there’s no telling how far this team can go.  One thing is for certain, they are a cohesive unit that is playing with all the confidence in the world right now, the type of confidence needed to make a deep run in the post season.




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