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UTEP Basketball: Miners overcome another double digit deficit to clip WKU in OT

Lee Moore, and Earvin Morris came up huge in the second half to help UTEP polish off a second consecutive comeback win.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications

UTEP trailed by 19-points with 8:47 to go in the second half, but outscored WKU 35-18 in the final 6:10 of regulation and in overtime to stave off WKU 93-89.

Earvin Morris scored a game high 32 points, while Lee Moore poured in 23 points, adding 11 rebounds, and six assists as both powered UTEP's furious comeback down the stretch.

The Miners scored 46 second half points, and 16 in overtime, shooting 66 percent in overtime, and also forcing 20 turnovers that led to 24 points off WKU turnovers in the game.

WKU jumped out to an 8-0 lead as they made their first three looks from the floor, but UTEP would finally get going with nine straight.

Earvin Morris would throw down a fast break dunk, then he would knock down a three pointer, followed up by a layup from Terry Winn to polish off a 9-0 spurt and give UTEP a 9-8 edge at the 16:53 mark of the opening half.

Things would then tighten up over the next seven minutes as neither team was unable to stretch a lead larger than four, until Fredrick Edmond and Aleksej Rostov got the offense going for WKU.

The pair would combine to score nine straight as WKU took a 29-22 lead after a layup from Edmond at the 5:56 mark.

Edmond would get another easy layup with 12 seconds left before halftime to push WKU ahead 40-31 at the halftime break.

UTEP would struggle out of the second half gates, and found themselves down 52-37 after a 3-ball by Aaron Cosby at the 15:09 mark as UTEP could not slow down the Tops from getting inside the lane which opened up Cosby's triple.

A pair of free throws gave WKU that 19-point lead, but then UTEP started to slowly chip away via a press, and some clutch offensive plays.

Omega Harris would get a jumper from top of the key to go down, then Moore hit a pair of three pointers, followed up by a three from Harris.   Then a pair of free throws from Moore capped off a 16-3 UTEP run, erasing the deficit to bring UTEP within four but still trailing 73-69 with 3:36 left.

The run would swell to 18-3 after a steal and layup by Earvin Morris almost 20-seconds later that brought the Don to life, and UTEP within a basket down 73-71.

WKU would go on to score four straight, but Lee Moore would fly in from out of nowhere and tip in a miss off an Omega Harris missed layup to keep UTEP within two possessions heading into the final two minutes.

Terry Winn would then split a pair of free throws after being fouled deep under the basket, trimming the WKU lead to 77-74 with 2:15 left.

After the Miners couldn't muster up a stop, they finally got the defensive stops they needed to tie things up.

WKU came up empty on two straight trips, then Lee Moore completed a big-time three point play to tie the game at 77 with with 26 seconds left.

Cosby missed a game winning attempt that went out of bounds to UTEP after a review with 1.5 seconds left in regulation.

Lee Moore missed a half-court heave in desperation, and the game went into overtime.

UTEP took no chances in overtime, scoring the first four points, and led 86-79 with under three minutes left in the extra period.

Earvin Morris scored UTEP's final five points in overtime, three coming from the free throw line as UTEP escaped with a 93-89 overtime win.

Terry Winn added 12 points, and eight rebounds for UTEP, he also came up with two huge blocks, and three steals when UTEP went into a three-quarter court press during the late second half charge.

Dominic Artis had an excellent floor game scoring 11 points, and handing out four assists in 40 minutes, his spinning layup at the 2:52 mark in overtime gave UTEP the 86-79 lead which was the deal sealer.

After a 2-of-16 start from three point land, the Miners finished 3-of-5 from deep, charged by the pair of three's from Moore, and Harris' three which brought UTEP within six at the 4:04 mark of the second half during UTEP's 18-3 run.

It was another defensive struggle for UTEP as the Tops shot 51 percent in the first half, and 48 percent for the game.

But UTEP was able to hang around on the boards despite being out rebounded 46-43 and giving up 17 second chance points.   UTEP had 20 offensive rebounds, six of those came from Lee Moore.

The difference was the tempo that UTEP played with during the run, as the Miners were able to create a few turnovers while down big in the second half, which powered UTEP's horses like Moore, and Morris to get to the rim and the free throw line.

UTEP was an 13-of-17 from the free throw line in the second half, and 22-of-32 in the game.

Edmond finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, but WKU's offensive flow slowed down once he fouled out via Moore's three point play that tied the game in regulation.

A stat that will keep Edmond up at night will be his 4-of-12 shooting from the free throw line which in the end, proved to be a big difference.

The Tops were 22-of-37 from the charity stripe in the game.

Justin Johnson also recorded a double-double for WKU with 15 points, and 12 rebounds.

It was another battle in where things could have gone south again, but in front of UTEP's golden standard of basketball excellence, UTEP walked off a winner.