DENTON, Texas – The UTEP men’s basketball team dominated the glass (37-23) and got double-digit scoring efforts from Shamar Givance (12 points) and Ze’Rik Onyema (11 points) but came up short, 52-42, at second-place North Texas Saturday at the Super Pit.

The Mean Green (18-5, 9-3 C-USA) led the Miners (11-10, 4-6 C-USA) by just one (35-34) with 10:09 remaining in regulation before going on a 7-0 run to help them eventually pull away down the stretch. There were three ties and a trio of lead changes.

UTEP scored just eight points over the final 10 minutes of the game and was held scoreless for over five minutes during that time period. The Miners’ 42 points was their lowest scoring output of the season.

Givance (12 points, six rebounds, two steals) and Onyema (11 points) accounted for more than half of the Miners’ points on the night. Calvin Solomon (six points, eight rebounds) and Otis Frazier III (five points, three boards) also had their moments. It wasn’t enough, though, to take down the Mean Green, which entered the game with the nation’s third-ranked scoring defense (55.1 ppga).

UTEP finished at 36.4 percent shooting (16-44), which was hindered by going 2-15 from 3-point range. The Miners also had 17 turnovers while causing just seven. UTEP was forcing 18.0 giveaways per contest prior to the matchup.

The Orange and Blue guarded well by limiting UNT to 43.2 percent (19-44) shooting, including 4-15 from distance. Tylor Perry paced a trio of players in double figures for scoring for North Texas with a game-high 18 points.

“I thought the turnovers were the biggest key,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “We knew that coming in. They’re so efficient with the ball. We had to value the basketball because you don’t get a lot of possessions against them. They got 17 points off our turnovers, and I thought that was the difference in the game. We just have to do a better job of valuing the ball.

“Effort tonight wasn’t the problem,” Golding said. “Our kids battled tonight. That was two teams playing their butts off. Two really good defensive teams. Give (Tylor) Perry credit, he hit some tough shots early in the first half. We had some looks, but they just didn’t go down. We need to continue to work on our offense and get better. It’s tough, they’re a good defensive team. They loaded up in the paint. Threes weren’t going in tonight. We were 2-15. When you play here at their place, you got to play almost perfect to beat them. They are +6 on the glass this year, we beat them 37-23 and had 11 offensive rebounds.”

It was a defensive-minded start the game, with the contest knotted at six five minutes in. UTEP broke the deadlock with consecutive jumpers from Solomon and Tae Hardy, respectively, to snag a mini 10-6 edge (13:41 1H). North Texas countered with a 14-1 surge to out by nine (20-11, 5:18 1H) and prompt a timeout from Golding. As it turns out, the Miners would never lead again.

Solomon ended the push, which included eight straight, with a floater in the lane. That was followed by a steal and an eventual fastbreak layup from Frazier III to cut the deficit down to five (20-15, 3:24 1H). UTEP then came up with a stop and box out. At the other end of the court, Givance beat the shot clock from the right wing to cap a 6-0 run and allow the Miners to creep within three (20-17, 2:31 1H). It was a four-point differential (23-19) in favor of North Texas at the half.

The home side scored on its opening possession of second stanza to stretch the margin to six, but Onyema answered immediately with an And-1 to cut the UNT lead in half (25-22, 19:10 2H). After the Mean Green nudged it back to five, Frazier III buried a corner triple to make it a two-point affair (27-25, 18:04, 2H). North Texas answered with a 7-2 surge to jump out by seven (34-27, 13:30 2H).

A free throw from Onyema, followed by a layup in traffic courtesy of Solomon, got the Orange and Blue to within four (34-30, 12:13 2H) and forced a timeout from UNT. After a stop, Solomon found a cutting Onyema for the lay-in to extend the run to 7-0 and inch the Miners within two (34-32, 11:16 2H).

North Texas ended the surge by going 1-2 at the charity stripe, but Givance’s runner high off the glass narrowed the tilt to one point (35-34, 10:09 2H). The Mean Green struck back with five straight points, which required the Miners to call timeout down six (40-34, 7:56 2H). The run grew to seven consecutive points after Perry went 2-3 at the line when being fouled by Frazier III on a 3-point toss.

Onyema stopped the sequence with a soft touch on a lay-up, but North Texas responded immediately with a basket to reinstate an eight-point cushion (44-36, 4:11 2H). UTEP kept battling down the stretch but couldn’t get closer than that the rest of the way. The Miners will continue a three-game roadswing by playing at Middle Tennessee (7 p.m. MT/8 p.m. CT- Thursday, Feb. 2). They will then wrap up the stretch with a contest at WKU (2 p.m. MT/3 p.m. MT-Feb. 4). Both games will be carried nationally, with the game against the Blue Raiders airing on ESPNU while the match-up with the Toppers will go on Stadium.