Miners blow out Southern, 87-57
Gabriel McCulley and Julian Washburn both established career-highs with 19 points, and Michael Perez tallied 16 of his 18 points in the second half as UTEP rolled to an 87-57 conquest of Southern University on Saturday in the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners (3-5) posted their largest margin of victory this season while equaling the most points they have scored in a regulation game under coach Tim Floyd. UTEP also put 87 points on the board against Mercer and Western New Mexico last season. The Miners scored 97 points in a triple-overtime loss at UAB, but only 71 came in regulation.
"We did some really good things, all things that have not been happening," coach Tim Floyd said. "I think Gabe is playing the best he has played, maybe since he has been at this school. He is putting up great numbers. I think he has helped everybody's confidence. We felt like we played well over at UNLV and Oregon. We really need to get this win on Monday [against McNeese State], so it can be the first time we've experienced two in a row, which would be a real positive going out to a very strong field in Hawaii. We need to continue to grow."
After Southern (3-8) tied the game at 9 on a three-pointer by Madut Bol with 14:38 to go in the first half, the Miners scored nine unanswered points to forge an 18-9 lead on a jumper by Jalen Ragland with 11:50 on the clock. UTEP extended its lead to as many as 15 points (32-17) before settling in with an 11-point advantage (39-28) at the midway point.
The Miners blew the game open with another 9-0 spurt early in the second half, pushing a 45-32 lead to 54-32. UTEP took its largest lead of 35 points (83-48) on a McCulley dunk with 2:36 to go and equaled it at 85-50 on two free throws by McCulley with 1:42 to play.
Quinton Doggett led Southern, which played its 10th straight game away from home, with 12 points.
The Miners shot 50 percent (30-for-60) from the field for the second time in three games and hit a season-high 12 three pointers, including three each from McCulley and Washburn. UTEP finished 12-for-23 from outside and 15-for-16 from the line (93.8 percent). The Miners hadn't shot better than 75 percent from the charity stripe in any of their previous seven games.
UTEP had one turnover in the first half and finished with six. The Miners' three point guards (Jacques Streeter, C.J. Cooper, D'Von Campbell) combined for nine assists and no turnovers. Cooper saw his first extensive action in a month, collecting four assists and two three pointers in 23 minutes.
John Bohannon registered the fourth double-figure rebounding game of his career with 10 boards in 23 minutes off the bench.
The news wasn't all good for the Miners, however, as coach Floyd announced that junior forward Malcolm Moore will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Freshman center Hooper Vint's status is up in the air with a bulging disk in his back, further depleting the UTEP frontcourt. Floyd said Vint could either undergo surgery or therapy for the remainder of the season.
"We're very, very thin inside," Floyd said. "We desperately need one of those two guys, just because of fouls and further injuries. But we're going to go play with the guys we have."
Sophomore Kevin Perry, a tight end on the Miner football team, saw his first action of the season, playing four minutes and scoring two points.
UTEP will host McNeese State on Monday at 7:05 p.m. All copper reserved tickets are $9 (regularly $18) and are available by calling (915) 747-5234.