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Saturday, September 30, 2023


MEN’S BASKETBALL: Cougars knock off UTEP, 75-65

The Cougars combined tough defense with a scorching performance from 3-point range to knock off UTEP, 75-65, on Wednesday at Hofheinz Pavilion.

UH (9-7, 2-1 Conference USA), which shot 55 percent from behind the arc, made 11 of its first 18 3-point attempts to create separation against a Miners (10-5, 1-1 C-USA) squad that shot only 41 percent from the field.

The Cougars forced only 11 turnovers and recorded only four steals, but used an energetic effort on defense to prevent UTEP from getting good looks at the basket.

The Miners cut their deficit to 70-63 when Derrick Caracter connected on a jump shot with 1:42 remaining. But the Cougars protected the ball and made enough free throws to stop UTEP’s comeback attempt.

The nation’s top scorer, Aubrey Coleman, led UH with 22 points. The senior guard also became the 43rd Cougar to score career 1,000 points when he sank a trey with 16:01 remaining in the first half.’ ‘ ‘

Kelvin Lewis recorded the first double-double of his career, grabbing a personal-best 10 rebounds while scoring 13 points.

Maurice McNeil added his third double-double of this season, scoring 12 points to go with 10 boards.

The Miners received a balanced effort on offense, as six players score at least seven points, but struggled to gain a rhythm until the closing minutes of Wednesday’s contest.

UH entered the second half holding a 13-point lead, but the Miners scored eight straight after halftime to pull within 37-32 with 17:19 left to play.

UTEP crept within four, 49-45, when Derrick Caracter nailed a short jumper with 12:13 remaining.

The Cougars countered with a 12-2 run, capped by a Coleman layup, to take a 61-47 lead with 7:41 left.

The Cougars couldn’t miss from beyond the arc in the opening minutes of Wednesday’s contest, as they nailed their first four 3-point attempts. All four of these treys came during a period when UH outscored the Miners 16-7 to take a 16-11 lead with 14:17 remaining in the first half.

The Cougars stretched their advantage to 35-21 on Zamal Nixon’s left-handed layup with 2:32 left before halftime, capping a 10-1 run by UH.

UTEP entered the break trailing 37-24 after shooting a dismal 28.1 percent in the first half. The Cougars, meanwhile, shot 46.4 percent overall, including a 7-of-12 performance from three-point range.

UH will’ return to action against’ East Carolina at 6 p.m. Saturday in Greenville, N.C.

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