UTEP Stumbles at East Carolina, 83-76
Feb. 23, 2011
Jontae Sherrod scored all 21 of his points in the second half -- with 15 coming at the line -- as East Carolina enjoyed a huge advantage at the charity stripe in knocking off UTEP, 83-76, on Wednesday at Minges Coliseum.
The Pirates (14-13, 6-7 C-USA) went to the line 37 times in the second half and finished 35-for-45 at the foul line as UTEP head coach Tim Floyd and assistant coach Phil Johnson were both ejected from the game in the first minute and a half of the second period. The Miners were assessed another technical foul, this one on Randy Culpepper, in the final minute.
Floyd's first technical was for stepping outside of the coaching box.
UTEP (20-8, 8-5 C-USA) trailed 35-29 when Floyd and Johnson were ejected, fell behind 38-29 after the resulting free throws, and weren't able to regain the lead despite closing the gap to four points twice in the final nine minutes. After Gabe McCulley's free throws sliced the deficit to 63-59 with 7:28 to play, East Carolina scored seven unanswered points to go ahead 70-59 with 5:10 remaining.
UTEP still had a chance when Jeremy Williams' three pointer made it 70-65 with 3:21 left, but a three-point play by Sherrod with 2:59 to play extended the Pirates' lead to 75-67 and the Miners were down by at least six points the rest of the night.
The Miners got off to a slow start, falling behind 11-3, and didn't score their first field goal until almost seven minutes into the contest. But they strung together a 15-3 run to take their largest lead of the night, 18-14, on a layup by Williams with 8:45 to play in the opening stanza.
UTEP still led 27-26 after Polk nailed a three pointer with 30 seconds left in the half, but Jamar Abrams responded with a three pointer of his own, and East Carolina went to the locker room with a 29-27 lead and the momentum.
Abrams led the Pirates with 25 points. Darrius Morrow scored 19 and Brock Young added 11 off the bench.
Culpepper scored 22 points and McCulley had a career-high 17 for the Miners, who went to the line 17 times and fired up 28 three point shots, making 11.
UTEP is still in the hunt for a top-four seed and bye in the Conference USA Tournament, which starts two weeks from today in El Paso. But the Miners dropped a full game behind league-leading Southern Miss and UAB with three to play. UTEP is tied for fourth place in the standings with three difficult games remaining versus Memphis (Feb. 26), Marshall (March 2) and at SMU (March 5).
UTEP will take on Memphis on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Haskins Center, then host Marshall on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. on Senior Night.