UTEP to meet Arkansas P.B. in Invitational Third Place Game

Thursday, December 29, 2011 - 1:48pm

UTEP (6-7) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-10) meet in the consolation game of the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Haskins Center. The Miners lost to Colorado State, 56-53, on Wednesday and the Golden Lions fell to Jacksonville State, 78-55.

UTEP’s all-time record in the tournament, now in its 50th year, dropped to 76-23 following Wednesday’s defeat. The Miners are playing in the consolation game for the ninth time (also happened in 1966, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1989, 1994, 2002 and 2006).

The Miners are starting fresh this season with nine newcomers, including a Division I transfer (junior guard Jacques Streeter) and seven freshmen. UTEP returns just three letterwinners and one starter (senior forward Gabriel McCulley) from last year’s unit that finished 25-10 overall and tied for second place in Conference USA with an 11-5 mark. The Miners lost 82.5 percent of their scoring and 70.6 percent of their rebounding production from the 2010-11 squad, which had eight seniors.

The Golden Lions dropped their eighth straight game on Wednesday. UAPB’s lone victory came over Florida International, 58-56, on Nov. 21 in Tulsa, Okla. The Golden Lions are 0-7 on the road with losses to Oklahoma State, Auburn, Air Force, Michigan, Akron, DePaul and Cincinnati.

UAPB fell behind by as many as 31 points to Jacksonville State, shooting 38 percent from the field and committing 19 turnovers on Wednesday night. The Golden Lions were also outrebounded 49-37. Savalace Townsend (18 points), Daniel Broughton (14) and Mitchell Anderson (11) all scored in double figures for UAPB. Townsend is the team’s leading scorer (18.0 ppg) and has accounted for 33 percent of the team’s points this year.

UTEP has won all six previous meetings with UAPB -- all in the Haskins Center -- by an average of 28.4 points. The Miners are facing the Golden Lions for the fifth time in six seasons.

Julyan Stone dished out five assists to shatter the UTEP career record as the Miners blew past Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 77-54, on Dec. 12, 2010 at the Don Haskins Center.

UTEP utilized a 21-0 run to build a 25-4 lead and turn back the Golden Lions, who remained winless with an 0-8 record.

John Bohannon posted his first career double-double, finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He was one of three Miners in double figures as Jeremy Williams netted 15 points and Christian Polk 14.

UTEP shot 60.7 percent in the first half in building a 48-21 lead. The Miners cooled off only slightly over the final 20 minutes, finishing at 56 percent on the night.

The Golden Lions shot 27.3 percent in the first half and 32.8 percent for the game. They were 1-for-13 from three-point range.

The Miners had their largest lead of the night at 68-30 when Gabriel McCulley buried a three pointer with 12:06 to play.

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