Vince Hunter scored a game high 19 points and C.J. Cooper added 17 as the Miners bounced back from a tough road swing to pick up their 20th win of the season against the North Texas Mean Green.
This one was almost never in doubt. Cedrick Lang scored the first four for the Miners, and five minutes in they would own a 10-2 lead over UNT.
The Mean Green would get it back to within three just moments later, but by the 9:23 mark a Hooper Vint jumper would extend their lead out to double digits at 23-13. UTEP would lead by as many as 18 in the first twenty minutes, and would take a 38-22 lead into the break.
UTEP would extend that lead out to 22 just two minutes into the second half, and North Texas would never be able to get it much closer than that. The Miners would lead by as many as 27, on multiple occasions in the second half, and would take this one by a final of 83-60.
Vince Hunter led the way for the Miners with 19 points and 8 rebounds on 7-11 shooting. C.J. Cooper finished with 17 points on 5-9 shooting, including 3-6 from three, and also didn't commit a single turnover on the night. Cedrick Lang chipped in with 13 points and 6 rebounds, and Earvin Morris finished with 11.
North Texas was led by Ahmed Muhammed who finished with 16 points on 7-18 shooting. Maurice Anieflok finished with 13 points and Jeremy Combs chipped in with 11.
The Miners shot 59.6% from the field, while holding UNT to just 43.9%. UTEP also shot 50% (9-18) from three and 78.3% from the line (18-23), while North Texas hit on just 5-18 attempts from distance and 5-9 from the free throw line.
UTEP also outrebounded the Mean Green 29-26, and committed just 11 turnovers to 13 for the Mean Green. The Miners also finished with 18 assists on 28 made buckets.
It was a nice rebound win for the Miners, and a win that could spark them just a bit as they prepare to enter the C-USA tournament. However, the Miners will have to play just as well as they did tonight, or better, if they want to make any serious noise in the conference tournament.
The win improves the Miners to 20-9 overall, and 12-5 in C-USA play. North Texas drops to 14-15 overall and 8-9 in league action. Saturday's regular season finale will give the Miners the opportunity to lock up a top four seed, and an opening bye in the upcoming C-USA tournament.
Lew Stallworth did not play in the contest Thursday night, and according to coach Tim Floyd, is suspended indefinitely. Rumor has it that Stallworth walked out of practice before later returning to implore Floyd to allow him to return to the team. It is unclear whether or not he will play again this year.
The Miners will conclude their regular season Saturday against the Rice Owls. Tipoff for that game, senior night, is scheduled for 2 p.m. MT.
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