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UTEP Defeats Air Force Big, Polk Named Invitational MVP


POSTED: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 10:45pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 - 11:00pm

Christian Polk scored a game-high 18 points as UTEP topped Air Force, 71-54, in the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Wednesday at the Don Haskins Center.

With 29 points in two games, Polk was selected MVP of the 49th edition of the tournament. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Gabriel McCulley and Jeremy Williams. Williams was named recipient of the Don Haskins Award.

The Miners (11-3), who won their ninth straight home game, were tested in the first 11 minutes before extending a 22-16 lead to 35-19 with a 13-3 run. UTEP took a 43-31 lead at the half and scored 10 of the first 12 points in the second period to put the game out of reach.

Polk finished 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-8 from three-point range for the Miners, who made seven of their nine triples in the first half.

Randy Culpepper busted out of a two-game shooting slump to score 15 points, and Williams added 14 points for UTEP. John Bohannon pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, leading the Miners to a 35-29 advantage on the boards.

The Miners shot 50.9 percent against an Air Force team that held opponents to a .379 field goal percentage in the first 11 games of the season.

Tom Fow scored 13 points for the Falcons (8-4), who shot 26.7 percent in the second half and 35.8 percent on the night.

Culpepper passed Memphis' Rodney Carney into seventh place on the all-time Conference USA scoring list on Wednesday. Culpepper has 1,907 career points.

The Miners will host Sam Houston State on Sunday at 2 p.m., completing the non-conference portion of their 2010-11 schedule.

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