The Miners came into this contest with a bit of a sour taste in their mouths after dropping a triple overtime thriller in Birmingham, AL on Saturday. Tulane had an early 7-4 lead about three minutes into the game, when Randy Culpepper just seemed to lose all consciousness. The 6'0 G went off scoring 11 points in less than three minutes, leading the Miners on a quick 14-0 run. Culpepper continued his hot shooting dropping another 11 points before half for a total of 22 in the first 20 minutes. Tulane shot a dismal 9-34 from the field in the first half, and the Miners took a 40-22 advantage into the locker room.
The second half began with much of the same as the Miners quickly opening their lead to 22 at 46-24 with 15:59 to go. The Green Wave then got hot outscoring the Miners by 15 over a 12 minute period to cut the deficit to 7 with less than 4 minutes left in the ball game. The Miners, with poise and confidence, tightened the screws a little, and held Tulane without a field goal for the final three minutes of the game. In the end, the Miners survived New Orleans, and escaped Fogelman Arena with a 69-58 victory.
The Miners shot 44.3% from the field for the game, going 8-18 from three point land, and knocking down all 7 of their free throws. UTEP was led by Randy Culpepper, who after dropping 22 in the first half, cruised home in the back seat finishing with 26. Culpepper has now passed South Florida's Altron Jackson for 2nd place all time in C-USA scoring with 2,027 points for his career. He only trails former teammate Stefon Jackson who scored 2,456 points in his career. Julyan Stone, the 6-7 PG, had another great game scoring only 5 points, but hauling in 15 rebounds, to go along with 8 assists and 4 steals with only 1 turnover. Jeremy Williams, Claude Britten, and Christian Polk all scored in double digits finishing with 13, 12, and 10, respectively.
The Green Wave, who were ice cold in the first half, warmed up a bit in the second shooting 48.1% from the field for an average of 36.1% for the game. Tulane was led by F Kendall Timmons who finished the game with a solid 20 points and 8 rebounds. Jordan Callahan was the only other person in double digits for the Wave, scoring 12 points, while Kris Richard, and Johnny Mayhane both finished with 8.
The Miners (14-4, 2-1) played a solid game on Wednesday night. They played sound defense, they knocked down their shots, and even though they allowed the Green Wave to get back in the game, the closed it out for a double digit win. Next up for the Miners is a home game against Rice (8-9, 0-3), who led Southern Miss late in their game, and by 7 in overtime, before losing by a final of 81-78. The Owls are led by 6-7 Sophomore F Arsalan Kazemi who comes in averaging 17.7 ppg, on an amazing 63.4% from the field. Rice has lost their first 3 games in conference, but this wont be a cakewalk as they have put up a fight in every game. Tip in this one is slated for 7:05 p.m. mt Saturday, and tickets are available at the UTEP ticket center.