Its another tough pill to swallow. This time from the UTEP men's basketball team. The Miners opened up the championship round of the Legends Classic in Atlantic City with an extremely disappointing loss to a very mediocre Georgia Tech squad. The first half was well played. After jumping out to an early 13-5 lead, the Miners answered every Georgia Tech run with one of their own taking a 37-31 advantage into the break.
In the second half the Miners pulled a disappearing act that even Houdini himself couldn't pull off. As has been seen before, the Miners came out cold and flat to open the final twenty minutes. The Yellow Jackets went on an 11-0 run to start the second half, and the Miners couldn't do much to keep pace as they didn't have a fg until 13:28 to go. The result; a 71-61 loss and a missed opportunity to get some crucial wins early in the season.
As I said in some comments in a previous post, the only way the Miners would lose to this Georgia Tech team was with turnovers, lazy defense, and poor shooting. Guess what? That's exactly what doomed them. The Miners finished the game with 16 turnovers, shot 35% from the field in the second half, went 8-17 from the free throw line, and to be honest showed nothing of the defensive intensity we had seen prior to this game. The Miners simply gave this one away.
Randy Culpepper led the way for the Miners with 13 points, but was virtually non-existent in the second half. Christian Polk helped keep the Miners close with his 12 points, and Julyan Stone had another good stat line with 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. The Yellow jackets were led by sophomore guards Glen Rice Jr. and Brian Oliver who had 19 and 15 points respectively.
Up next is a matchup against a Michigan Wolverine team who has to be confident after narrowly losing 53-50 to the Syracuse Orangemen, ranked 9th in the nation. The Miners will face Michigan in the consolation game of the tournament at 3:30 MST Saturday, followed by the championship game between Syracuse and Georgia Tech. Both games will be nationally televised on HDNet.