The Miners started this one in the same funk that had plagued them over the last couple of weeks, while Sam Houston State came in ready to play, jumping out to a double digit lead midway through the first half. The Miners quickly changed that by closing out the half on a 17-7 run that sent the teams to the locker rooms knotted at 32.
UTEP started the second half with the same momentum they took into the break. With about 18 minutes to play the Miners took the lead on a Claude Britten layup and never relinquished it after that. The Miners shot a blazing hot 65.4% from the field in the second half, and 54.7% for the game. Their hot shooting allowed them to extend their lead to double digits, and cruise to the finish line winning by a final score of 74-65.
Randy Culpepper finally broke out of his shooting slump recording a stat line of 31 points and 8 rebounds on 11-20 shooting. Julyan Stone had another impressive outing, nearly racking up a triple double. The senior PG went for 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 10 assists, while committing 0 turnovers. Christian Polk was the only other Miner in double figures putting up 13 points. Gilberto Clavell and Nafis Richardson led the way for the Bearkats with 21 and 15 points, respectively.
The Miners have been rather inconsistent as of late, but if they can find a way to play with the intensity the played with in this second half today, they will definitely win a lot of games. The game marks the end of the non-conference schedule for the Miners who won 12 games, tying the school record set by the 1983-84 squad who were12-0 heading into their WAC conference schedule.
Next up for the Miners (12-3) is a home matchup with the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Tulsa comes into the game with a 7-6 record, but 4 of their 6 losses were by 4 points or less. The Golden Hurricane are led by senior G Justin Hurtt and junior F Steven Idlet who together are averaging nearly 40 points a game. Tip off is set for 7:05 Wednesday in the Don, and as always tickets are available at the UTEP ticket center.