UTEP Advances to C-USA Semis With 77-65 Win Over Marshall
March 10, 2011
UTEP placed six players in double figure scoring for the first time this season and blew out to a 23-point first half lead before holding off Marshall, 77-65, in the Buick Conference USA Championship quarterfinals on Thursday at the Don Haskins Center.
The third seed Miners (24-8) advanced to meet either second seed Tulsa or 10th-seed Rice in Friday's semifinals at 2 p.m. MT. UTEP knocked off Marshall (22-11) in El Paso for the second time in nine days.
Following a closely contested opening nine minutes, UTEP went on a 20-2 run to extend an 18-15 lead to 38-17. The Miners took their largest lead of the night of 23 points (44-21) on a three pointer by Randy Culpepper with 2:57 remaining in the period.
Marshall, however, crept back to within seven points in the early stages of the second half. A three-pointer by Johnny Thomas completed an 18-3 spurt that cut a 46-24 deficit to 49-42 with 14:22 to play.
That was as close as the Herd would get, however, as UTEP built its lead back to 15 points (66-51) on a Julyan Stone free throw with 5:19 left on the way to its first conference tournament victory in El Paso since 1990.
Gabriel McCulley scored 14 points for the Miners, who outrebounded Marshall 40-36 after losing the battle of the boards to the Herd, 47-31, on March 2. Stone had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, and McCulley added nine boards.
Thomas led Marshall with 13 points.