UTEP Shakes Off Arkansas-Pine Bluff in Sun Bowl Opener
Dec. 22, 2012
Konner Tucker buried six three-pointers and Julian Washburn registered his first career double-double as UTEP took care of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 83-61, in round one of the Sun Bowl Invitational on Saturday.
The Miners (5-5) will take on Nebraska (8-3) out of the Big Ten Conference in the tournament title game on Sunday at 7 p.m. MT.
"I thought Nebraska looked really strong against a good Central Michigan team," UTEP assistant coach Ken DeWeese said. "They've got two really good perimeter players in [Ray] Gallegos and [Dylan] Talley and two really good frontcourt players in [Andre] Almeida and [Brandon] Ubel. We're going to have our hands full. It's going to be another game where we're going to have to do well on the boards. If we can rebound the basketball, we're going to have a heck of a chance. Coach Floyd talks about a perimeter stopper and an inside stopper, and we'll need that tomorrow night."
UTEP's head coach missed the UAPB game with the flu, leaving Phil Johnson to direct the team.
The Golden Lions (1-10) hung around in the first half and trailed by just three points (49-46) after Mitchell Anderson hit a jumper with 11:53 to play. But a John Bohannon layup and Tucker trifecta jump-started a 13-4 run that put the Miners ahead 62-50 with 8:40 left.
UTEP also closed the game with a 14-4 spurt, extending a 12-point lead (67-55) to 22.
Tucker played zone buster, scoring 18 points and cashing in on six of his eight three-point attempts.
"We did a good job executing against their zone," Deweese said. "We have some zone plays and actions that we run, and you saw a couple in the second half where we got it down to Bohannon on the block and got some easy shots. I thought Julian did a great job out of the high post once we went to a smaller lineup with four guards. He found guys who were open. And Tucker going 6-for-8 from three makes a big difference."
The Miners shot 77.3 percent in the second half, missing just five of 22 attempts. It marked the seventh-best shooting half in school history.
Also of significance was UTEP outrebounding an opponent (36-27) for the first time since the season opener, and placing all five starters in double figure scoring for the first time since March 10, 2011 versus Marshall. Bohannon scored 17 points, Washburn had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Cedrick Lang matched Jacques Streeter with 10 points. McKenzie Moore filled up the stat sheet with nine points, five rebounds, three assists, a block and two steals in 17 minutes.
Anderson and Lazabian Jackson tied for high scoring honors for UAPB with 15 points.
"We had to play a little smaller because those guys are smaller and really athletic," Deweese said. "There were times that they had basically three point guards on the floor, and we had to adjust to their quickness. We got a lot quicker ourselves and we did a little better job helping off the ball and taking away their drives and their penetration."
The Miners shot 62.2 percent while keeping UAPB under 40 (39.1), and heated up in the second half after solving the Golden Lions' zone.