Defense Wins It For UTEP Against Tulane


POSTED: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 10:04pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 10:48pm

Reserves John Bohannon and Gabriel McCulley combined to score 17 of UTEP's 34 second half points, as the Miners rallied from a 38-35 halftime deficit to nip Tulane, 69-65, on Wednesday at the Don Haskins Center.

McCulley got UTEP started by scoring eight points in the first 10 minutes of the second period, and Bohannon came up with several big buckets down the stretch, helping the Miners (17-4, 5-1 C-USA) stay atop the Conference USA standings with their 13th consecutive home win.

Bohannon scored six of UTEP's points during a late 8-2 spurt that extended a 55-54 lead to 63-56. After the Green Wave (12-7, 2-4 C-USA) whittled the lead down to three points twice in the final minute, the Miners hit free throws to keep the visitors at bay.

The Miners received 26 points from their bench -- their most versus a conference opponent since March 11, 2010 versus UCF (37).

UTEP shot 68.4 percent in the second half to finish at 53.1 percent for the night. Tulane, which led by as many as nine points in the first half, buried 13-of-24 shots and 6-of-11 three pointers in the opening 20 minutes before the Miners turned up the defensive pressure.

The Green Wave shot 33.3 percent in the second half as its leading scorer, Kendall Timmons (17 points), was held to one point and two field goal attempts after the intermission.

Christian Polk paced four UTEP players in double figures with 16 points while adding six assists. Bohannon chipped in with 11 points, and Randy Culpepper & McCulley contributed 10 points each. Julyan Stone dished out seven assists and had double-figure rebounds for the fourth straight game with 10.

The Miners will play at Tulsa (10-10, 3-3 C-USA) on Saturday in a nationally televised game. CBS College Sports will have coverage beginning at 6 p.m. MT.

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