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Buzzer beater in 3rd overtime hands UTEP a 88-87 loss at FIU

UTEP fought, FIU fought, and gave fans a classic game to remember.

But in the third overtime, FIU came up with a deep 3-point shot close to mid-court in the closing moments to shock UTEP 88-87.

Four Miners scored in double figures led by 21 points from Sparkle Taylor, Tamara Seda added 14 points, and 13 rebounds.

UTEP started on fire offensively, making eight of their first ten looks from the field, jumping out to an a 17-9 lead after a 3-pointer from Katarina Zec at the 4:26 mark of the opening quarter.

FIU would answer with a 15-7 spurt, tying the game at 24 with 6:36 left until halftime inside the second quarter.

Kristian Hudson poured in 19 first half points for the Golden Panthers, but UTEP took a slim 32-31 lead into the halftime break.

Things remained very close the rest of the way, coming down to the wire and eventually into a three-overtime thriller.

The Miners actually held a double digit lead late in the third quarter, but FIU was able to dwindle the lead down.

UTEP led 57-53 with 7:42 left in the final quarter, but neither team would score until FIU’s Tianah Alvarado knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:33 left.

Sparkle Taylor and Lulu McKinney would answer with a back-to-back buckets, but FIU also answered on consecutive trips making it 61-60 UTEP heading into the final minute of play.

The Miners went 1-for-4 from the free throw line, missing an opportunity to ice the game, and left the door open for an FIU chance at overtime.

FIU took full advantage after McKinney went 1-for-2 from the line with 11 seconds left, but Hedgus sent things to overtime via a layup with seven seconds left.

Both teams traded blows in the first two overtimes, and it came down to a near half-court buzzer beating shot by Hedgus for the win.

Sparkle Taylor hit a jumper with two seconds left, and Hedgus pushed the ball just above the half court line, fired up a 3-pointer that went bang.

Hudson finished with a game high 35 points, Hedgus finished with 10 points for FIU who shot 40 percent on the evening.

The Miners shot 39.7 percent from the floor, and 25-for-32 from the free throw line, and drop to 4-12 overall on the season.

UTEP will face FAU Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. Mountain time.