EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP put up 78 points while shooting 49 percent from the floor, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with New Mexico in a 93-78 shootout at the Don Haskins Center on Thursday.
Nearly 1,500 fans made for an entertaining atmosphere on the Miners’ (3-1) ‘Education Day’ game, but the Lobos (5-0) emerged victorious in a battle of unbeatens. Katarina Zec (16 points), Tatyana Modawar (career-high 12 points) and Katia Gallegos (10 points) all hit double-figures in scoring for UTEP. Ariona Gill flirted with a double-double (8 points, 10 rebounds) while Avery Crouse netted nine and Ariana Taylor chipped in with 7 points.
UNM relied on a barrage of 3-pointers (12-29), an extremely good day at the line (17-19) and winning the boards (41-30) to outlast the Miners. The Lobos had a 24-14 margin on second-chance points while also holding advantages for points in the paint (38-28) and fastbreak points (34-12).
The Miners lost for just the second time (14-2) of the Kevin Baker era when scoring at least 70 points.
The Lobos were led by Jordan Hosey’s double-double (19 points, 13 rebounds). Four other players also hit double figures in scoring.
“We just didn’t guard well enough to get the job done,” said UTEP head coach Kevin Baker. “New Mexico is a good team, the best one we’ve played so far this year. They attack you so hard. We could never really play the game on our terms defensively. We did a lot of things to try to slow them down.”
The Lobos jumped out to an 10-2 lead at the 7:38 mark, taking advantage of Gallegos going to the bench with a pair of early fouls. The Miners regrouped and responded with a 11-2 surge on the way to leading by one (13-12) with 3:48 left in the frame.
It was back-and-forth the next couple of minutes before UNM grabbed control of the contest with a 14-1 run around the quarter break to jump out to a 17-point lead (37-20) with 5:34 to play in the half. A Zec jumper ended the sequence, but the damage had been done. The deficit was 14 at halftime. The Miners twice got it within 10 in the third quarter, but could get no closer the rest of the way.
The Miners will play their second rivalry game of the week when they play host to Battle of I-10 rival New Mexico State at 7 p.m. MT on Saturday.