Shorthanded, and unable to make a lead clinching run after falling behind early, the UTEP Miners came up short Saturday night against Northwestern State 79-67.
The Demons wore it out from 3-point land, making 13-of-27 tries from long distance, and had three score in double figures, and also turned 15 UTEP turnovers into 16 points off Miner miscues.
UTEP took a quick 5-0 lead, but went scoreless for almost five minutes in the next stretch as Northwestern State took control for the rest of the half, and game.
The Demons would go a 9-0 run after UTEP’s quick start, and drilled nine 3-pointers in the first half to keep control of the lead for 16 minutes in the opening half.
Tra’von Joseph, and Jordan Bell would each knockdown 3-pointers to give the Demons a 17-12 lead with 10:03 left until halftime.
The Miners hit five first half 3-pointers as Trey Touchet tied the game at 22 with a 3-point bomb at the six minute mark, although Reginald Kissoonlal answered with a 3-pointer from the left wing to stop a 5-0 UTEP spurt.
Nothing came easy offensively in the first half for UTEP as the Miners turned it over 10 times leading to 12 points off turnovers for the Demons.
Devonte Hall drilled another Demon 3-pointer with 58 seconds until halftime to stretch the lead to eight points, but Touchet beat the first half buzzer with a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 39-34 at halftime.
The three point barrage would continue into the second half as Hall opened the second half scoring with a triple, then Bailey Walker knocked one down from the deep left wing as the Demons led 49-38 just five minutes into the second half.
UTEP cut the lead to six on three different occasions, but didn’t have a defensive answer for Northwestern State.
The final dagger came from Josh Boyd who nailed a long 3-pointer to beat the shot clock giving the Demons a 65-53 going away lead with 4:45 left in the game.
Dominic Arts led the Miners with 16 points, he also added nine rebounds, and seven assists, but turned the ball over seven times.
Jake Flaggert added 14 points, and Trey Touchet buried three, 3-pointers and finished with 13 points.
The Miners shot 42.9 percent from the field, but shot 32 percent from the floor in the second half. UTEP also struggled from the free throw line going 11-of-21 from the line.
Matt Willms scored eight points in just 19 minutes, and left the game after breaking his nose according to Tim Floyd. His status is uncertain.
UTEP drops to 1-4 against D-1 opponents on the season, and will face New Mexico next Tuesday in Albuquerque.