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February 2, 2013

Miners Get Back on Winning Track, Defeat Tulane

EL PASO, Texas - After blowing a 17-point second half lead Wednesday, head coach Tim Floyd tried to just move on to the next game, but it was difficult trying to get that UAB game out of their minds.

So they responded by cutting down on turnovers, maintaining a lead and hitting their free throws in their ensuing game against Tulane.

"I liked a lot of things we did right against what I think is a good Tulane team. We were so disappointed in our last ball game…I loved the way we handled the press late…I liked our poise," Floyd said.

The UTEP Miners built a double-digit lead by the first half and never let down as they defeated the Tulane Green Wave for the second time this season 62-50 Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners had their big lead by the first half, building it to 15 with 12 seconds remaining. They then went on an 11-2 run that eclipsed both halves and eventually built a 21-point lead within the first two minutes of the second half. UTEP never allowed the lead to fall under 12 points the rest of the way and led by as much as 24.

"Coming out of the second half and we were up 15, we all told each other, 'we've been up 15 before and we let one go,'" McKenzie Moore said. "We just tried to play harder than we did in the first half, continue to get better individually and as a team."

Floyd attributed much of the victory to the Miners' defense, as well, and shutting down Tulane's two best players, which was a focal point transitioning from the UAB game.

"I don't recall a game where the two primary players of the other team had their way with us, which happened over there at UAB," Floyd said. "I thought (Tulane's) two primary players tonight in Ricky Tarrant and Josh Davis were limited by Julian Washburn and Jacques Streeter, which is really who we have to be."

Tarrant, averaging 17.1 points this year, and Davis, averaging 14.8, went a combined 4-of-12 from the field for 12 points (eight from Davis) and Davis, who was averaging 9.9 rebounds, was held to two boards tonight.

"We made sure they shot the ball one time … whenever someone got beat, we had a lot of help, which I felt was a key for us to win," Washburn said.

On the offensive side, UTEP did not perform as well as they did against UAB, according to Floyd, as they shot 48.9 percent, including 10-of-14 from the line. They had seven turnovers all game.

The Miners were led by Moore's 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting and also had a team-high six rebounds.

"I just tried to get back in the rebound. You know, sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. I just tried to go back and rebound and get good looks for my teammates," Moore said.

UTEP steadily built their lead in the first half, pushing it to their biggest advantage to that point with a 34-19 halftime lead.

Tulane led just once all game at 6-5, which the Miners responded with a 7-2 run. The deficit was cut to 15-11 a few minutes later but UTEP used a 19-8 run to close out the half.

Moore and Konner Tucker combined for 20 of the Miners' first half points with Tucker going 6-of-7 from the line and Moore hitting four of his seven shot attempts.

UTEP forced eight turnovers in the half and held the Green Wave to 34.8 percent from the field. Tulane also missed all five of their three-point attempts.

William Vega can be reached at show@minerillustrated.com or you can follow him on Twitter at @WillVega21. Make sure to follow Miner Illustrated on Twitter at @minermaniac for more up-to-date news and information about UTEP.


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