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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Men's Basketball

UTEP capitalizes on late errors

A firm grip on missed shots and a more aggressive mindset on offense are sure to be the focus in practice this week for head coach James Dickey.

The Cougars missed several opportunities to close out the game and were outhustled by UTEP in the final minutes for a 57-52 loss Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion.

UTEP lingered, never trailing by more than four points.

The Miners had 14 offensive rebounds, leading to 12 second-chance points. UTEP was also fouled more often, shooting 22 shots from the free-throw line compared to 10 for UH.

“They made big plays when they had to down the stretch,” Dickey said. “They were terrific defensively and really made us work. Free throws and offensive rebounding were the difference tonight.”

A made free throw by Adam Brown with 3:04 remaining put the Cougars up 50-49 — the last time they would have a lead. Jeremy Williams made two free throws, putting the Miners back up by one with 1:54 left.

Darian Thibodeaux forced Randy Culpepper to miss a shot, but forgot to box out, giving the Miners a fresh shot clock. With 19 seconds left in the game Julyan Stone sank a wide-open 3-pointer to make it 54-50.

“He just made a great offensive play,” Thibodeaux said. “I didn’t box out and find my man.”

Brown led all scorers with 22 points. Kirk Van Slyke chipped in with 12 points.

With an announced attendance of 4,513, it was the largest fan turnout of the season at Hofheinz.

“I’m disappointed since we had the biggest crowd of the year,” Dickey said. “I’m sorry because they seem to really like this team, and we couldn’t give them the win tonight.

“I’m sorry for them and our players, but we just have to go back and get ready for Rice.”

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