The Miners continued their solid road play Thursday night in New Orleans, holding the Tulane Green Wave to just 32% shooting in the first half, en route to a 72-54 win.
Matt Willms and Cedrick Lang led the way for the Miners in the early going, combining for 17 points in the first twenty minutes, while shooting a combined 7-10 from the field.
UTEP led for 17 of the 20 minutes in the opening half, holding as large as a 12 point lead after a Julian Washburn made jumper with :26 left to play, and would take a 32-24 lead into the locker rooms.
Turnovers by both teams started the second half, and the slow and sloppy play would continue throughout the opening minutes. The Miners would start cold, and a couple made shots by the Green Wave quickly made it a five point contest.
It would be the Miners' other two big men who would take over from there though, as Vince Hunter and John Bohannon combined for UTEP's first 12 points of the half, and boosted them out to a 10 point lead.
Tulane's Cameron Reynolds and Jay Hook would knock in a pair of threes to close the gap a bit, but by the 7:30 mark, the Miners would own their largest lead of the game at 56-42.
C.J. Cooper would chip in with a handful of big time buckets and assists, and combined with Hunter and Bohannon scored the Miners' first 33 points of the second half. In fact, no other Miner scored until after they cleared their bench with two minutes to play.
The Miners would eventually push their lead to as many as 20 in the final minutes of the game, and would walk away with the 72-54 win.
John Bohannon would lead the way for the Miners, scoring 20 points on 8-10 shooting, with 18 of those points coming in the second half. Vince Hunter and C.J. Cooper each finished with 12 apiece, with Hunter hauling in 7 boards and Cooper dishing out 6 assists.
Matt Willms and Cedrick Lang finished with a combined 17 points and 8 rebounds, with all of those 17 points coming in the first 20 minutes.
Louis Dabney and Jay Hook led the way for the Green Wave, finishing with 14 points apiece. No other Tulane player finished in double figure scoring.
The Miners ended the game with a 31-27 rebounding advantage, and shot a blistering hot 56.3% from the field, while holding Tulane to just 35.4%.
The win improves the Miners to 20-7 and 10-2 in conference play. It also assures them their first 20 win season since the 2010-11 campaign, and keeps them in a tie for first place in C-USA with Middle Tennessee.
Despite last week's setback, its been an extremely impressive run by our Miners. C.J., in my opinion, continues to be the difference maker for this team, while others just continue to step up on a nightly basis.
It was very reassuring to see our senior, John Bohannon, be able to bounce back from last week's suspension to lead the Miners with a 20 point effort. If he can continue to play at that level, look out for this team.
Up next for the Miners is a Saturday afternoon matchup with Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. That long awaited matchup is slated to tip at 4:00 p.m. MT.
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