FanPost

Miners Survive the Tornado in Tulsa | 20 Feb 10



For the first 20 minutes the Miners' offense was unstopable, and the defense was impenetrable.   The Golden Hurricanes looked like a West Texas dustdevil.  There was plenty of shots put in the air, but no real damage was done.  There big three, Jerome Jordan, Ben Uzoh, and Justin Hurtt had a combined total of 12 points from 25 field goal attempts, and 7 more from 7 free throws.  During the same 20 minutes, Derrick Caracter and Randy Culpepper already had 31 points on 26 field goal attempts and 2 for 2 free throws.  The Miners were feeding a hungry Caracter and he was enjoying the feast in the paint.  Culpepper was shooting 50% from the field including 5 of 10 inside the arc, and 3 of 6 from beyond it.  At the end of the first half, the Miners were up 43 to 26.  Any doubt about whether or not the Miners would be lacking focus from the week off was put to rest.
     Boy did that change when the second half got started.  The Hurricane came roaring back into the game, full force.  The Miners looked like they had lost a little of their thunder from the first half.  UTEP seemed to have lost Derrick Caracter during halftime.  He was on the court, but the rest of the seem seemed not to be able to find him.  Meanwhile, Tulsa started driving onto the teeth of the Miners' defense, and were getting easy shots, or fouls sending them to the line.  The Miners were putting up jumpers from outside, that in this half were missing.   With 11 minutes left in the game, Tulsa had cut the Miners' lead to 8 points, at 59-51.  Tulsa could see the game coming back to them, and the Miners were seeing it slip away.  Coach Barbee was mixing a 1-2-2 zone with man-to-man, which helped shut down the drives into the paint, and kept Tulsa a bit off balance.  Uzoh had statred hitting his jumpers though.  The Miners were starting to get help from Arnette Moultrie, and they had located Caracter.  They weren't going to him like they had in the first half, but they were at least able to see him now.  Culpepper was busy being Culpepper.  He was defending like a maniac, driving to the hoop, and had two critical steals, the second one with 2:45 left ending in a Rocket Randy dunk.  The Miners were back up by 11 points, but the Hurricanes weren't going to go away.  There was still enough time on clock.  Justin Hurtt came down and hit a three pointer and was fouled by Stone.  He missed the free throw attempt.  But, the Miners lead was only 8 with still 2:10 left on the clock.  Culpepper is sent to the line and hits his two free throws.  The teams traded a few more baskets, and the Hurricanes got a couple of steals in the last minute and a half, but weren't able to get the score closer than 8.  With 36 seconds left, Derrick Caracter threw a pass the length of the court to a waiting Randy Culpepper for a dunk, and with 23 seconds left Jerome Jordan slammed a meaningless dunk home to make the final score 78 to 70.

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