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UTEP runs away from Alcorn State 88-66

UTEP won their third straight to open the season, but the injury bug found its way into the Don Haskins Center again.

Coming into the night the task was simple for UTEP.

Play hard, defend, work on the little things, continue to build chemistry, stay healthy, and win big.   UTEP executed everything they could control except for one thing out of their control Sunday night in a 88-66 rout of Alcorn State.

Dominic Artis led the way with 19 points, and nine assists, Earvin Morris added 18 points.   Lee Moore chipped in 15 points, and Hooper Vint added 12 points, and six rebounds, but UTEP may have lost another front court player in the process.

UTEP shot 49 percent from field for the game, and despite being out-rebounded 39-38, UTEP used 19 second chance points to put away their third straight win of the season.

Sloppy play described the first ten minutes for both squads early in this Sunday evening affair.

UTEP would get off to an ice cold start from the field, as they made two for their first ten attempts from the field, and only held a 10-8 lead during a 2:41 scoring drought at the under 12 timeout in the first half.

Alcorn State would also come up with a whole lot of iron early on thanks to a 3-of-10 start from the field, but Marquis Vance and Malachy Onwidiegwu would knock down back-to-back three pointers to the tie the game up at 18 at the 8:51 mark of the first half.

UTEP would then knock down back-to-back threes by Lee Moore and Jake Flaggert two minutes later that would jump start an 11-0 UTEP run giving the Miners a 32-20 lead after an offensive rebound and layup from Paul Thomas with 2:05 left until halftime.

Alcorn State would finish the half 2-of-11 from the field as UTEP jumped out to a 36-26 halftime lead.

The Miners shot 12-for-12 from the free throw line in the first half including 15 in a row into the second half, and cashed in 22 points off Alcorn State turnovers.

Lee Moore would open the second half scoring with a jumper, then a three pointer, followed up by a Dominic Artis three pointer to start an 8-2 spurt for UTEP and give the Miners a 44-28 lead two minutes into the second half.

Energy, some defensive toughness, and a 6-of-10 start from the field pushed the UTEP lead to 53-32 at the second half under 16 timeout.   UTEP shot 52 percent in the second half to finish off the Braves in the final 15 minutes.

The bad news was is a possible MCL, ACL, or meniscus injury for Brodricks Jones as he was going for an offensive rebound in the middle of the second half and did not return to the game after being helped off the floor.  Floyd said an MRI will determine the severity of the injury.

Matt Willms was in a boot and street clothes, Floyd said he is more than likely done for the season, but it's not 100% official just yet.

Tevin Caldwell was not in attendance and is return is also unknown as he goes through the concussion protocol.

Despite another injury blow to the front court, UTEP blocked seven shots, and held Alcorn State to 29 percent shooting from the field with some physical interior defense.  UTEP had assists on 23 of their 30 field goals in the game, and shot 6-of-11 from three point land in the second half.

Rebounding by committee seems to be the theme for UTEP so far as five different Miners had at least five rebounds led by Paul Thomas with six boards, and Terry Winn who also added six, while Moore and Morris pulled down five rebounds each.

Marquis Vance led Alcorn State with 16 points, and 11 rebounds as the Braves drop to 0-2 on the season.

UTEP (3-0)  will continue their week of Corpus Christi Coastal Classic action with Florida A&M on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center