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UTEP falls to FAU 73-66

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A terrible second half stretch, and stretches of overall really poor basketball compounded and snow balled on UTEP in the second half, leading to a 73-66 FAU win.

Justin Massey led the Owls with 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers, and leading three FAU players in double figures. FAU shot 42.9 percent from the field in the second half, 13 of Massey’s points came in the second half.

The Miners saw a solid outing from Evan Gilyard who scored a career high 20 points, but his second half heroics weren’t enough as UTEP dropped their third straight and fall to 1-4 in C-USA play.

FAU started the game going 4-for-14 from the field, but trailed 14-11 at the 11:27 mark of the first half.

From there, FAU would turn it over four times in a row, and an Omega Harris breakaway layup, followed up by an easy Evan Gilyard layup made it 19-11 Miners with 8:55 left until halftime.

UTEP shot 44 percent in the first half, and a Kobe Magee buzzer beater from long distance right before the half gave UTEP a 34-29 halftime lead. UTEP led for all but 18 seconds of the opening half.

FAU shot 32.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes, but held an 8-0 advantage in second chance points to keep them in the game despite a poor shooting percentage.

UTEP jumped out to a 39-32 lead just a few minutes into the second half as FAU started 1-for-5 from the field, but a 7-0 FAU run tied things at 39 just two minutes later.

That run would explode to a 17-5 FAU run as the Owls made four in a row from the field at one point during the run, and led 49-44 after a 3-pointer from Gerdarious Troutman with 13:40 left to play.

Ronald Delph extended that lead to 55-48 with a shot from the post, and FAU put UTEP in the danger zone at the under eight minute timeout down seven, and in the midst of a nearly three minute scoring drought.

UTEP’s scoring drought would stretch to a near five minute scoreless drought while FAU led 61-48 (their largest margin at that point) with six minutes left.

But then Evan Gilyard brought UTEP back from the dead.

Gilyard hit a trio of clutch 3-pointers during an 11-0 UTEP run, the third was a banked 3-ball from well past the arch on the left wing and UTEP clawed back trailing 61-59 with 3:31 left in the game.

UTEP will still unable to close the gap as a slam from Delph made it 67-60 with 1:35 left to play. Omega Harris hit a desperation 3-pointer from the corner make it 69-66 inside the final minute, but FAU was really good down the stretch from the free throw line.

FAU went 10-for-12 at the line in the second half, and crushed UTEP on the boards 49-33, ending the night with a 16-0 edge in second chance points. UTEP also turned the ball over 13 times, and were out scored 34-18 in points in the paint.

Omega Harris was the only other Miner to reach double figures scoring 11 points. UTEP made 8-of-25 shots from long distance, while FAU was a more efficient 6-for-15 from long distance.

Keith Frazier returned to the Miner lineup, playing only eight minutes and missing all four of his looks from the floor.

UTEP will host FIU Satruday.