Miner Rally Falls Short
UTEP whittled a 16-point Chicago State lead to two in the final seconds, but the Cougars held on for an 86-82 victory over the Miners on Wednesday at the Don Haskins Center.
David Holston scored 24 points for Chicago State (3-3), which shot 66.7 percent in the second half and 51.9 percent on the night.
Royce Parran added 20 points for the Cougars, who had five players in double figure scoring.
"That's a tough one to take," UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. "Chicago State is a really good team and we've got a long way to go."
UTEP (3-3) got off to a good start, leading by 10 points early and 24-15 with 5:24 remaining in the opening half. But Chicago State ended the period with an 18-4 run to take a 33-28 advantage at the intermission.
"We started the game with great energy and lost that energy," Barbee said. "For the first 10 minutes, we moved the ball well and attacked. And after that we stopped, and I have no idea why."
After the Miners cut the gap to one point twice in the first three minutes of the second half, the Cougars went on another run to take their largest margin of the night, 66-50, on a three-pointer by Parran with 8:19 to go.
UTEP chipped away and twice pulled within two points in the final 16 seconds -- the last at 84-82 with eight seconds left. But Holston drained a couple of free throws to preserve the win.
Stefon Jackson and Marvin Kilgore led the Miners with 21 points apiece. Malik Alvin added 17 points and a career-high nine assists.
Chicago State was 11-for-22 from three-point range -- with Holston making six trifectas -- and 19-for-27 from the line.
UTEP shot 37.9 percent in the first half. The Miners shot 48.7 percent in the second half and scored 54 points, but it wasn't enough.
"With this team every game is going to be like this because we struggle to score the ball," Barbee said.
UTEP senior guard Kevin Henderson did not play with a bruised heel.
It was UTEP's second straight loss in the Haskins Center after dropping a 94-77 decision to Texas Tech on Saturday.
"This is like your house," Barbee said. "Are you going to let people come in here and take whatever they want? We've got to have more pride than that."
UTEP will host New Mexico (5-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. MST -- the first meeting between the long-time rivals in El Paso since 1999.