UTEP Men's Basketball Picks up Big C-USA Victory at Tulane; #1 Duke Falls


POSTED: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 9:41pm

UPDATED: Thursday, January 13, 2011 - 5:40pm

Randy Culpepper tallied 26 points to become the no. 2 scorer in Conference USA history as UTEP knocked Tulane from the ranks of the C-USA unbeatens with a 69-58 victory on Wednesday.

Culpepper passed USF’s Altron Jackson (2,017 points) on the league scoring list. With 2,027 points, he trails only former teammate Stefon Jackson, who posted 2,456 points from 2005-09.

Culpepper matched the Green Wave by putting up 22 points in the first half as UTEP coasted to a 40-22 lead at the break. At one point Culpepper scored 18 of the Miners’ 21 points as they turned a 5-2 deficit into a 23-9 advantage.

Tulane (12-4, 2-1 C-USA) entered the game with a spotless 8-0 record at Fogelman Arena, but didn’t have much to cheer about in the first half after Aaron Holmes’ layup lifted the home team to an early 7-4 lead. UTEP (14-4, 2-1 C-USA) answered with 14 straight points to go ahead 18-7 on a jumper by Culpepper with 13:59 remaining in the period.

After Tulane cut the deficit to 10 points (28-18) with 6:58 remaining, the Miners ended the half with a 12-4 run to take the 18-point cushion into the locker room.

UTEP tied its largest lead of the night at 49-27 on a three pointer by Christian Polk with 15:59 to play, then withstood a rally by the Green Wave, who pulled within seven points (63-56) on a three pointer by Jordan Callahan with 3:19 left. The Miners held Tulane to no field goals the rest of the way, as Jeremy Williams and Polk iced the win with free throws.

UTEP had four players in double figures as Williams scored 13 points, Claude Britten 12 and Polk 10. Julyan Stone snagged a career-high 15 rebounds while adding eight assists, five points and four steals. Stone and Culpepper (five steals) combined for nine of the Miners’ 10 steals.

Stone is five assists shy of breaking Reggie Kohn’s C-USA record.

The Miners held Tulane nearly 18 points below its season scoring average (75.9 ppg) coming into the game. The Green Wave shot 26.5 percent in the first half before warming up to 48.1 percent over the final 20 minutes.

UTEP will host Rice (8-9, 0-3 C-USA) on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Like Tulane, the Owls are vastly improved and took Southern Miss to overtime on Wednesday at Autry Court before falling 81-78.

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