Wednesday night's contest started slow, and just never picked up for the entire 40 minutes. After not scoring a point for the first three and a half minutes, the Miners jumped out to an 11-6 lead. It wouldn't last though as the Hurricane came back to hold a five point lead of their own, before eventually taking a 21-20 advantage into the locker rooms.
The second twenty minutes started much the way the first did, with only one basket being scored in the first five minutes. With neither team experiencing any success, the Miners strung together a 6-0 run take a four point lead at 30-26 with about ten minutes to play.
Tulsa responded with a 9-0 run of their own to take a 35-30 lead with just over six minutes to play, and they wouldn't relinquish that lead the rest of the night. UTEP fell behind by as many as seven, and while they had plenty of opportunities down the stretch, they were unable to capitalize and fell 45-42.
John Bohannon led the way for the Miners, scoring 11 points and hauling in 9 rebounds on 3-6 shooting in 28 minutes of action. He was however, the only UTEP player to score in double figures. McKenzie Moore finished with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 steals, but also had 6 turnovers to only 1 assist. Konner Tucker finished with 7 points, and Jacques Streeter and Julian Washburn had 6 points apiece.
The Hurricane were led by Kauri Black who had 11 points and 5 assists. James Woodard was the only other Tulsa player to score in double figures, going for 10 points and 3 rebounds. Zeldric King finished with 7 points, and Shaquille Harrison had 5. Scottie Haralson failed to score.
In the end, the Miners were held to only 31% shooting, while the Hurricane knocked down 40% of their attempts. The Miners held a 31-29 rebounding advantage, and also had only 10 turnovers to Tulsa's 12, but the cold shooting was just far too much to overcome.
The loss is a bit of a deflating one for the Miners, who now fall to 9-7 overall, and 2-1 in conference play. They had won three in a row and six of their last seven, and were off to a 2-0 start in Conference USA play. The team seemingly had their road woes figured out, and were playing their best basketball of the year, but this performance here turns out to be arguably the worst of the season.
Its tough to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but clearly nothing was going right for the Miners tonight. Washburn had a quiet night, Tucker just couldn't get going, Moore while active wasn't his usual self, and no one could hit a shot when the team needed it the most.
All is not lost as the conference season is still extremely young, but they'll have to regroup quickly and get back to work as an SMU team desperate for a win will visit the Don Haskins Center this Saturday. Tipoff for that contest is slated for 2:00 MT, and the game will be carried live by CSS.