Lobos Outlast Miners in OT, 86-85
Jan. 2, 2008
J.R. Giddens scored 20 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as New Mexico won its sixth straight game, 86-85 in overtime, over UTEP on Wednesday at the Don Haskins Center.
Six players scored in double figures for the Lobos (13-2), who rallied from a five-point deficit with 3:53 remaining in regulation to force overtime. New Mexico built a 10-point lead in the extra period before holding off a furious rally by the Miners (9-3) in the final seconds.
New Mexico led 80-70 with 1:35 remaining in OT and 82-72 with 1:15 left. Three-pointers by Randy Culpepper and Marvin Kilgore pulled the Miners to within three points, 85-82, with 20 seconds remaining. Following a turnover by the Lobos' Darren Prentice, UTEP's Manuel Cass missed a potential game-tying three pointer. Prentice made a free throw with three seconds left to secure the victory, the Lobos' first in El Paso since the 1997-98 season.
"I'm disappointed that we lost the game," UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. "But I told our guys that I was proud of them for fighting until the end."
UTEP, which had its five-game winning streak snapped, was called for 35 fouls, including four technicals. UTEP's Kilgore and Stefon Jackson were both whistled for technical fouls, and Barbee was ejected after receiving his second technical with 3:11 remaining in overtime.
"I cost us the game with two ridiculous technicals," Barbee said. "I apologize to the fans. I let them down."
New Mexico shot 37-for-52 from the line, and UTEP was 29-for-42 at the charity stripe in a game that lasted over two and a half hours.
The Miners were outrebounded 56-45 and missed multiple chances to close out the game by failing to secure defensive rebounds late in regulation.
UTEP led 62-58 when New Mexico's Dairese Gary missed the second of two free throws with 3:39 to go in the second half. But Gary collected the offensive rebound off his own miss and found Chad Toppert for a three-pointer that closed the gap to 62-61 with 3:26 left.
Later, with UTEP nursing a 64-62 lead and 53 seconds remaining, Giddens rebounded his own missed jumper and was fouled by Jackson before draining two free throws to tie the game.
"It's disappointing because there were two or three loose balls at the end of regulation that we got our hands on but couldn't come up with any of them," Barbee said. "If we come up with them the game is over."
Both teams had their opportunities to win the game at the end of regulation. Jackson missed a jumper with 22 seconds left, and New Mexico misfired on two shots in the final seconds -- a jumper by Giddens and attempted putback by Daniel Faris.
UTEP will play at Texas Tech on Saturday at noon MST. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.