UTEP Outlasts SMU in OT, 70-64


POSTED: Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 11:41pm

UPDATED: Sunday, January 15, 2012 - 6:19pm

John Bohannon scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and overtime, and UTEP beat SMU for the ninth straight time at the Don Haskins Center, 70-64 on Saturday night.

Bohannon -- who grew up in Dallas suburb Lancaster -- was perfect both from the field (7-for-7) and the line (6-for-6) against the Mustangs while adding eight rebounds in a reserve role.

Bohannon did most of his damage in overtime, scoring six points and going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. His only field goal of the extra session put the Miners ahead 62-57 with 1:20 remaining.

A three-pointer by Jeremiah Samarrippas pulled the Mustangs to within three points (67-64) with 21 seconds left, but UTEP closed it out with free throws.

"We had envisioned a game like this and expected SMU to play with great poise, handle the ball and take great shots on the other end," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "They also guarded us exceedingly well. Credit their defense, they got us standing and limited our post catches and touches. They did a nice job with their switching. It's a little different than what we play against everywhere else."

Trailing 20-15 with under five minutes left in the first half, SMU (9-8, 1-2 C-USA) went on a 20-7 run to build a 35-27 lead, its largest of the night, with 15:03 remaining in regulation.

"They exposed us the last four minutes of the first half and first five or six minutes of the second half," Floyd said. "We were beaten on drives by virtually everybody from the top of the key during that stretch. I thought our guys made a nice adjustment to guarding the dribble. Then they went to a post-up game with Mike Perez and Jacques Streeter as the defenders, and we did a solid job of making that adjustment."

The Miners (9-9, 2-2 C-USA) started pecking away, finally regaining the lead, 50-48, on a three-pointer by Gabriel McCulley with 4:10 left.

London Giles' layup gave SMU a 53-52 edge with 1:03 to play, but Michael Perez's free throw with 48 seconds to go tied it.

After UTEP forced SMU into a shot clock violation, Perez missed a three-pointer with three seconds left, and officials ruled that a three pointer by the Mustangs' Robert Nyakundi came after the buzzer sounded.

The Miners took the lead for good on McCulley's three-pointer with 3:31 to go in OT.

UTEP has won 17 of the last 18 games against SMU. The Miners are 13-1 versus the Mustangs since joining C-USA.

Bohannon's 20 points tied his career high. Perez (16 points) and McCulley (15 points) also scored in double figures. Perez had four steals. Freshman Jalen Jones led SMU with 12 points.

"John Bohannon played really well," Floyd said. "He has improved a great deal at the line from where he was a year ago. I thought Gabe McCulley did a great job on Nyakundi defensively. Probably the stretch that helped change the game for us was a couple of picks and steals by Mike Perez and Julian Washburn that led to easy transition baskets when we were down eight. We kind of got our head up a little bit and got the crowd into the game."

The Miners shot 50 percent and outrebounded the Mustangs 30-21. UTEP also scored 20 points off SMU turnovers.

UTEP will take on East Carolina on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Haskins Center on "Texas Western Throwback Night." The Miners will wear vintage 1966 Texas Western uniforms, and former NBA All-Star Antonio Davis will be honored.

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