UTEP Knocks Off Charlotte To Win Their Fifth Consecutive Game
The UTEP Miners continued on their red hot winning streak by defeating Charlotte 73-68 on Thursday night. UTEP has now won five in a row and six of their last eight games. Their current winning streak is the best in C-USA. The Miners led the game from start to finish and improved their record to 17-7, 9-3 in C-USA. More importantly UTEP is now in a third place tie with UAB who lost to North Texas, and only a game back of conference leader Louisiana Tech with only six games remaining.
Offensively the Miners were extremely well balanced as five players finished with double digit points. C.J. Cooper led all scorers with 15 points, Vince Hunter finished with 14, Julian Washburn and Earvin Morris added 11, and Cedrick Lang contributed with 10 points and had a double-double.
Eight of Lang's ten rebounds came in the second half, but the most significant one of the game came with 48 seconds remaining as Charlotte had cut the Miners' lead to 64-61 when Omega Harris missed a three point attempt and Lang got the board, was fouled, and hit two crucial free throws to give UTEP the five point lead.
Overall the Miners were outrebounded 39-26 in the contest and allowed Charlotte a 23-10 second chance point advantage. They made up for their poor areas of play by shooting 55 percent and going 15 for 20 from the line in the second half to earn the victory. The Miners will host Old Dominion on Valentine's Day, a team that was ranked 23rd in the nation a few weeks ago, and have defeated the likes of VCU and LSU.
The Miners were supposed to have an incredible season, possibly be ranked in the top 25, and make the NCAA tournament. They have stumbled at times, but with just six games left before the C-USA Tournament begins in Birmingham UTEP is right in the mix of things and playing with all the determination in the world to get back to the big dance.
Here is Coach Floyd's complete post game press conference.