The Miners got 26 points from Vince Hunter and used big performances from Earvin Morris and Julian Washburn to take care of the Southeastern Louisiana Lions 80-62 Tuesday night.
Things again started slow for the Miners, managing just five points in the first six minutes, but they'd also give up just two points over the first nearly nine minutes of action, allowing them an early seven point cushion at 9-2.
Vince Hunter would lead the Miners early and often, scoring their first five points, and 10 of their first 19. Southeastern Louisiana wouldn't go quietly though, and would use an 8-0 run to cut a 19-8 deficit to 19-16 following a Zay Jackson three with 6:50 left in the half.
The Miners would open things up, scoring 12 of the next 14 points to push their lead out to 13 at 31-18 before leading 31-20 at the intermission.
Julian Washburn would get things going in the second half, scoring five of the Miners first seven points out of the break, stretching an 11 point lead out to 16 at 38-22.
Both Washburn and Hunter would continue to the lead the way for UTEP, scoring 25 of the Miners' 31 points between the 18:30 and 6:43 marks of the second half. That run gave the Miners their largest lead to that point at 63-41.
Vince Hunter would eventually match his career high of 26, and the UTEP bench would carry them the rest of the way, eventually winning by a final score of 80-62
Hunter led the way for the Miners with that career high matching 26 point performance to go along with 7 rebounds. Earvin Morris finished the night with 17 points, and Julian Washburn 15 points and 4 rebounds. Matt Willms chipped in with 9 points and 9 rebounds.
Zay Jackson matched Hunter's total with 26 points of his own, to go along with 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Joshua Fillmore added 12 points, and Oniche Ochie finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
The Miners outshot the Lions 57.4% to 38.1%, including 42.9% to 19% from three point range. UTEP also did an good job shooting free throws, finishing 12-16 for 75%. Southeastern Louisiana finished 10-14 from the line.
UTEP outrebounded the Lions 36-31, but did give up 9 on the offensive end, compared to just 4 of their own. The Miners also finished with 21 assists and 10 turnovers, while Southeastern Louisiana had 8 assists and 7 turnovers.
All in all it was a great win for the Miners. The slow start is still a concern, but the team did well to handle a Southeastern Louisiana team that has played tough against some top opponents.
The win improves the Miners to 6-3 on the season, and is the Miners' final tuneup before facing the #3 ranked Arizona Wildcats Friday night in the Don. The Wildcats will be the highest ranked team to ever play the Miners in El Paso.
Tipoff for the Arizona game is slated for 9:00 p.m. MT and will be carried live nationally by Fox Sports 1.
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