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UTEP Basketball: Miners move past UTSA 81-74 in regular season finale

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The 3-ball was nice to the orange and blue.

Earvin Morris ended his UTEP career in the Don Haskins Center with a game high 23 points, and UTEP hit eleven 3-pointers to end the regular season with a 81-74 win over UTSA.

The Miners shot 56.8 percent from the field in the second half, and 7-of-9 from deep in the final half to overcome a rough offensive first half.  The Miners finished the game shooting 56.8 percent, and scored on 49.4 percent of their 77 total possessions.

UTEP would get off to an ugly start in the opening stages of the game, and trailed for the entire first 15 minutes of the first half.

The Miners turned it over on their first four possessions, and started 2-of-9 from the field, trailing 9-7 at the 11:33 mark of the first half.

UTSA would then knock down back-to-back 3-pointers, the second by Christian Wilson put UTSA ahead 20-16 at the 5:53 mark.

Earvin Morris scored 12 of UTEP's first 24 points, and his triple from the corner gave UTEP their first lead of the contest at 22-20 with 4:47 left until halftime.

UTEP would finish the half 6-of-9 from the field, but 10 first half turnovers kept UTSA within reach as UTEP took a 29-28 lead into the halftime break.

In the opening minutes of the second half, UTEP's offense finally got going via the 3-pointer.

UTEP would knock down their first three looks from long distance, as Lee Moore, Omega Harris, and Dominic Artis all cashed in from deep to push UTEP ahead 40-30 at the 16:59 mark of the second half.

Jake Flaggert would lob an entry pass to a cutting Hooper Vint in transition who would finish with a layup and give UTEP their largest lead at that point 50-39 as things went to under the 12 minute mark of the second half.

Flaggert would give UTEP their largest lead of the game with a 3-pointer from the left wing as UTEP built a 56-39 lead during a 10-0 run in a two minute span.

The final seven minutes turned into a free throw shooting contest, in which UTEP lost the battle, but was still able to hold on for the win.

UTSA outscored UTEP 34-25 in the final nine minutes of the second half, but the Runners finished 1-of-7 from the field, and UTEP led by nine in the final minute to split the season series.

UTEP won the rebounding battle 39-37, but the statistical eye sore came from the free throw line.

The Miners shot 20-of-40 for the game, and 13-of-28 in the second half from the charity stripe, but an 11-of-17 mark from behind the 3-point line hid the rough night from the free throw line.

Dominic Artis, and Omega Harris each scored 13 points, Lee Moore added a quiet 15 points.  Morris, Artis, Harris, and Moore shot a combined 10-of-16 from 3-point land.

After a slow start, and horrid night from the free throw line, UTEP was able get hot behind the 3-point line, and shut down UTSA on the defensive end as the Runners shot 39.7 percent in the ball game.

The Miners will find out their C-USA Tournament seed and first round opponent tonight as a Charlotte win against North Texas puts UTEP in the #7 spot against WKU.  A Charlotte loss and UTEP will get the #6 seed and face North Texas next Wednesday evening.