POSTED: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 8:42pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 10:43pm
Freshman Eric McClellan scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half, and Kodi Maduka added 14 points as Tulsa kept UTEP winless on the road with a 59-48 victory at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Wednesday night.
The Golden Hurricane (8-9, 1-2 C-USA) went on an 11-3 run after UTEP cut the deficit to 41-40 on two free throws by Michael Perez with 9:51 remaining. The Miners (8-9, 1-2 C-USA) managed just eight points the rest of the game and were held under 50 for the first time since Nov. 26.
Maduka started the 11-3 spurt with a dunk and a free throw, and McClellan capped it with a couple of foul shots.
“Give credit to Tulsa for doing a great job on the three guys who scored so well for us last week in our win against Houston,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “[John] Bohannon, [Gabriel] McCulley and [Julian] Washburn had their struggles tonight and that’s a credit to their defense and how they approached them and played them. They put the ball in other guys’ hands and we weren’t real efficient at making plays.”
Bohannon played just three minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls. He scored six points. McCulley scored seven and Washburn three on 1-for-7 shooting.
Tulsa had a big advantage at the free throw line, making 14-of-17 to UTEP’s 4-of-6, in a game that was otherwise even statistically.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t get ourselves to the foul line,” Floyd said. “I think that’s a credit to their coaching. They played very aggressively and played well defensively without fouling.”
The Miners had rough starts and finishes to the first half. UTEP fell behind 9-2 in the opening four minutes, rallied to take a six-point lead, then was outscored 13-2 over the last 5:18 to trail 28-22 at the break. The 22 points tied the fewest in a half for the Miners in a C-USA game under coach Floyd.
UTEP closed the gap to a point on five occasions in the second half, but could never regain the lead.
Tulsa shot 45.5 percent and UTEP shot 41.7 percent. The Miners are 0-8 this season when shooting between 40 and 49 percent.
The Golden Hurricane had a 30-26 advantage on the boards, although UTEP outscored Tulsa 26-18 in the paint.
“We hung around enough on the boards to give ourselves a chance, but I thought Maduka was a big difference maker in the game and [Steven] Idlet made a couple of big plays late,” Floyd said. “The freshman McClellan looks like he’s going to be a very good player.”
Michael Perez was the only Miner in double figures with 14 points. Jacques Streeter chipped in with nine.
UTEP will be home for back-to-back games against SMU Saturday (Jan. 14) and East Carolina Wednesday (Jan 18). Tip-off for both games is 7 p.m. MT.