UTEP Blows Lead, Loses Conference Title Game


POSTED: Saturday, March 13, 2010 - 12:12pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 13, 2010 - 10:55pm

The streak is over. After winning 16 straight, the UTEP Miners finally lose in the conference tournament championship game 81-73, to the only team that beat them in conference in the regular season, the Houston Cougars.

Houston grabs an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, while UTEP is expected to be selected as an at-large team tomorrow.

National scoring leader Aubrey Coleman struggled through a 4-for-20 shooting performance, but teammate Kelvin Lewis picked up the slack and led all scorers with 28 points. Houston trailed by nine with 8 minutes to play, but came roaring back against the top-seeded Miners and outscored UTEP 25-8 down the stretch.

Randy Culpepper scored 20 points, but only scored five in the 2nd half. Derrick Caracter added 18 for UTEP.

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