Earvin Morris finished with a game high 18 points and C.J. Cooper pitched in with 16, including four huge threes en route to a 69-62 victory over UTSA Saturday night at the Don.
UTSA came out hot, and were nearly perfect in the early going, scoring 17 points in the first four plus minutes of the game, while jumping out to an early 24-12 lead on the Miners. That lead came on an Austin Karrer three with 12:26 left in the first half, but it would be all UTEP from there.
The Miners used a 12-0 run over the next seven minutes to tie the game at 24, and would eventually take their first lead at 30-28 before heading into the locker rooms knotted at 30 apiece.
Five straight by the Miners out of the break would give them a 35-30 advantage, but five minutes later three straight by Phillip Jones would give UTSA the lead back at 41-40. That, however, would be their final lead of the night.
A Julian Washburn made jumper would put the Miners ahead 42-41, and three and a half minutes later a 11-2 run would give UTEP their largest lead of the night at 52-43.
The Roadrunners would make things interesting down the stretch with a couple made threes, but five made free throws by the Miners would seal the game, and give the Miners the 69-62 win.
Earvin Morris led the Miners with 18 points on 7-13 shooting. C.J. Cooper finished with 16 points including 4-8 from three, and Julian Washburn and Vince Hunter each finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Washburn also had a game high 6 assists.
Jeromie Hill and Ryan Bowie each finished with 14 points for the Runners, Keon Lewis finished with 12. No other UTSA player scored in double figures.
The Miners won the rebounding battle by the slightest of margins, 35-34, while also shooting slightly better from the field at 45.5% to 44.1% for UTSA. UTEP also shot 12-16 from the free throw line, while the Roadrunners converted on just 5-12 attempts.
The win improves the Miners to 19-7 overall, and 11-3 in Conference USA play. It is also their seventh straight victory, and ties them with Louisiana Tech for first place in C-USA after the Bulldogs fell to Old Dominion earlier in the day. UTSA falls to 13-12 overall and 7-7 in league play.
Up next, the Miners will head to Ruston, LA to take on the La Tech Bulldogs in a game that will almost certainly decide the regular season Conference USA winner. That game will take place on Thursday, and will tip at 6:00 p.m. MT. It will be carried live by Fox Sports 1.
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