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UTEP Basketball: Miners shut down FAU 71-56

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It got a little interesting early in the second half, but UTEP was in control from wire-to-wire in a 71-56 win over FAU.

UTEP led by as much as 28 in the second half, and shot exactly 50 percent from the field in a 71-56 rout of FAU to snap a three game losing streak, and continued a five game home winning streak.

Hooper Vint, and Omega Harris each scored 19 points to lead UTEP who evens their C-USA record at 3-3.

The emphasis on offense was post touches, and Hooper Vint aggressively responded leading UTEP to 42 points in the paint compared to just 14 for the Owls.  The Miners also out-rebounded a C-USA opponent for the first time this season holding a 34-32 advantage on the boards.

FAU shot just 37.5 percent from the field, with three players turning the ball over more than three times, snapping a two game win slide for the Owls.

UTEP wasted no time in shaking off any rust from a tough three game road trip.

Omega Harris drilled a pair of three pointers on back-to-back possessions to open UTEP's first three trips up the floor which all resulted in buckets.

Meanwhile FAU started 0-of-5 from the field helping UTEP sprint out to an early 12-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game.

Lee Moore would then get a put back layup off an offensive board, then Moore split a pair of three throws to stretch the hot start to a 15-0 advantage.

FAU started 3-of-18 from the floor, and ended the half shooting 25.9 percent with UTEP leading by as much as 22 in first half.

UTEP out scored FAU 18-2 in paint in the first half, and also shot an impressive 11-of-13 from the free throw line in the opening half.

Harris scored 15 of his points in the first twenty minutes as the Miners took a 40-20 lead into the halftime break.

All was almost perfect in the in the first half, but the start of the second half brought back some brief deja vu moments from last Saturday.

UTEP came up scoreless on five of their first six second half possessions, spurring an 11-2 run by FAU to close the gap to 42-31 after an easy fast break layup from Nick Rutherford came off a UTEP turnover at 17:07 mark.

Jeantal Cylla would knock down back-to-back three's, quieting the Don and cutting the lead to under 10 at 46-37 via the second make from deep at the 14:33 mark of the second half.

Cylla led all scorers with 25 points on 5-of-6 shooting from behind the three point line.

Then the Owls went cold, and a big UTEP run put this one to bed.

UTEP rolled off a 21-2 run and a 17-0 run at the same time apart of a more than four minute FAU scoring drought, capped off by an Omega Harris layup to put UTEP comfortably in front 67-39 with 7:08 left in the game.

Guard play was much improved and praised by Tim Floyd after the game.   UTEP assisted on 18 of their field goals, led by Lee Moore who dished out eight assists, adding nine points, and five rebounds.

FAU turned it over 18 times, leading to 18 points off turnovers for the Miners.

Like Tim Floyd said after the game, the win won't solve the world's or UTEP's issues, but it was imperative that UTEP improved their mental aspect and got back to the basics which was shown in weathering the early second half run by FAU.

The two game homestand continues Saturday night as FIU comes into the Don for a 7:05 p.m. tipoff.