Charlotte 68, UTEP 58: 49ers Demolish UTEP C-USA Tournament Hopes
For the first time since the 1997-98 season, the UTEP men's basketball team will not be heading to a post-season conference tournament.
They still had an outside shot to earn a spot in the 12-team C-USA Tournament, but they needed to win out the rest of their remaining games, including today against last-place Charlotte.
It wouldn't be the case for the Miners though, as Charlotte out-scored the Miners 43-25 in the second half and ran away with a 68-58 win at home on Sunday afternoon.
UTEP is now 0-12 on the road this season and has lost 10 of their last 12 games. They held a comfortable 33-25 lead going into halftime, but couldn't escape foul trouble and turnover woes, which ultimately cost them the game.
The Miners led in all but one minute during the first half, which included strong defensive efforts and efficient scoring by the team. They were again without freshman forward Efe Odigie, who is out with an ankle injury.
UTEP played small ball in the first half after freshman forward Kaosi Ezeagu fell in early foul trouble. They relied on freshman guard Jordan Lathon to score early on, as he finished with 11 points in the first half.
As a team, UTEP forced 11 turnovers in the first half and shot 46.7 percent from the floor (13-for-28).
Seven minutes into the second half, the Miners still looked as if they were in full control of the game. They carried over their shooting to the second half and led 43-37 at the 13-minute mark.
Then, Charlotte pulled the rug from underneath the Miners feet and stormed out on a 16-0 run through the next nine minutes. During the monstrous run, Lathon, Ezeagu and Paul Thomas each fell into foul trouble with four fouls apiece.
With that talent having to sit on the bench, UTEP allowed Charlotte to march back into the game, take the lead and absolutely dominate the Miners through the final minutes. The 49ers led by as much as 16 points during the final four minutes of the game.
While some of the calls were questionable against the Miners, UTEP turned the ball over 10 times in the second half and were out-rebounded 30-27 by the end of the game.
Charlotte's Jon Davis and Cooper Robb combined for 37 of Charlotte's 68 points. They finished the game shooting 46 percent from the floor and made an exceptional 94 percent of their free throws (16-for-17).
Lathon led the Miners with 21 points on 10-for-19 shooting, while Thomas chipped in with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Next up, the Miners will close out their home schedule against Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, March 6 at the Don Haskins Center.