Miners Stifle Washington State in Pullman, 64-51
Dec. 21, 2013
Four UTEP starters scored in double figures, and the Miners held Washington State to 33.9 percent shooting in a 64-51 victory over the Cougars on Saturday night in Pullman.
UTEP (7-5) posted its first road win over a BCS school since Texas Tech on Dec. 5, 2000 (81-80), and first road win over a school currently in the Pac-12 since Washington on Nov. 21, 2000 (73-61).
"It was really a great defensive effort from a lot of guys," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "They had two of the better guards in the Pac-12 in [Royce] Woolridge and [Davonte] Lacy, and they were held to five and six [points]. Julian Washburn, C.J. Cooper, McKenzie Moore and Justin Crosgile all did a very good job and I thought our big guys were terrific in terms of their support on the backside."
Lacy came in averaging 20.2 points. Woolridge was averaging 11.0 ppg. Both shot 2-for-7 from the floor, 0-for-3 from three-point range.
If not for 21 points from Que Johnson - 19 in the second half - the Miners might have blown the Cougars (7-4) completely out of the water.
UTEP didn't trail in the game. The Miners scored the game's first six points, then went on a 12-4 run after the Cougars tied the game at six. Another 12-4 first half run increased a 14-10 lead to 26-14.
UTEP led 28-17 at the half, as Washington State made 8-of-29 shots (27.6 percent). The Miners took their biggest lead of 19 points (41-22) on a three-pointer by Cooper with 14:56 to go.
Washington State wasn't finished. The Cougars made it an eight-point game with 2:42 left on a free throw by Woolridge. But the Miners executed down the stretch.
The Cougars had several opportunities to cut into a 60-51 UTEP lead in the final minute. Woolridge missed a layup, Johnson missed a three-pointer, Lacy missed a layup and D.J. Shelton missed a three pointer on the same possession. John Bohannon made two free throws for the Miners and, following a missed three by Shelton, Vince Hunter had a dunk in the open floor for the exclamation point.
The Miners were equally as crisp on the offensive end of the floor, shooting 51.2 percent with nine turnovers.
"I thought McKenzie Moore was huge in the second half with his penetrations and getting to the line, or penetration and kicks," Floyd said. "He kicked to Julian Washburn for a big three late, and he kicked to John Bohannon on the baseline for another two. I'm just really, really pleased that we were able to go on the road and hold a team to 34 percent shooting."
Hunter led the Miners with 15 points and eight rebounds. Washburn scored 14 points, Moore had 13 and Bohannon had 10.
With a full complement of players, the Miners appear to be rounding into form heading into a week with three home games. UTEP will host Montana State on Monday, then battle Western Illinois and Denver in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational on Saturday and Sunday. All three games are at 7 p.m.
"I feel like we're sharing the ball really well right now. The ball is moving," Floyd said. "I feel like our guys are having fun playing. We had no distractions, no discipline situations over the course of the week. I feel like we're coming together as a team right now."