UTEP Knocks Off Oklahoma in All-College Classic, 89-74
Dec. 21, 2009
Randy Culpepper scored 17 of his 27 points in the second half as UTEP built a big lead before holding off Oklahoma, 89-74, at the 74th Annual Sonic All-College Classic on Monday in Oklahoma City.
The Miners (7-2) tied their largest lead of the night of 19 points, 60-41, on a three-pointer by Culpepper with 13:51 to play. The Sooners (8-4), who had their six-game winning streak snapped, regrouped with an 11-2 run to pull within 10 points, 62-52, with 10:36 to play on a free throw by Tony Crocker. But Crocker missed the first of two foul shots and a chance to close the gap to single digits.
After UTEP used a 6-0 spurt to build a 75-58 cushion with 5:19 remaining, OU continued to peck away and once again sliced the deficit to 10 points (79-69) on a free throw by Willie Warren with 2:12 left. But Culpepper answered with a three-point play to widen the margin to 82-69 at the 1:56 mark and put the game out of reach.
All five starters scored in double figures for UTEP. Christian Polk scored 17 points, including a series of big shots down the stretch. He was 4-for-4 from the field after halftime. Julyan Stone had 15 points, Derrick Caracter had 11 and Arnett Moultrie had 10. Caracter had a double-double for the third straight game with 10 boards as the Miners outrebounded the Sooners 36-30.
UTEP shot 57.9 percent from the field and made 10-of-16 three-point shots.
Oklahoma was led by Willie Warren, who poured in 26 points. Tommy Mason-Griffin scored all 20 of his points in the second half, when he was 7-for-11 from the field.
It was only Oklahoma's second loss in its last 17 games in the tournament.
Following a hotly contested first 11 minutes, UTEP went on a 24-6 run to go ahead 47-28 on a jumper by Jeremy Williams with a minute left in the first half. At one point the Miners scored 14 unanswered points to extend a 23-22 lead to 37-22.
UTEP shot 56.3 percent in the first half and made 8-of-12 three-pointers, with Culpepper, Moultrie and Polk each burying two triples in the opening period.
It was the first matchup between the Miners and the Sooners since 1960. It was UTEP's first win over OU in three tries and raised the Miners' record versus Big 12 opponents to 40-64.
UTEP will return to action on Monday, Dec. 28, hosting the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational. First-day matchups are UTEP vs. Norfolk State at 7 p.m. MT and Air Force vs. Niagara at 9 p.m. The consolation game is slated for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29, with the championship to follow at 7:30 p.m.