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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Men's Basketball

Culpepper burns defense, UTEP flattens UH

With a minute left, and the result well out of reach, point guard Zamal Nixon was uncharacteristically whistled for a technical foul. It proved to be symbolic of the Cougars’ frustrations.

The Cougars battled back several times but lost 76-64 Saturday at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso.

In what has become a familiar mantra this season, head coach James Dickey said the team was lacking a complete performance.

“We have to play a lot better than we’re playing right now,” Dickey said. “We have to play for the full 40 minutes.”

The Cougars (12-13, 4-8 C-USA) never had a lead, and the closest they came to overtaking UTEP was a two-point deficit with eight minutes remaining in the first half. UTEP (20-6, 8-3) cruised to an eight-point cushion at halftime.

UH got within five points on a Maurice McNeil layup 5:53 left in the second half. The Miners responded by reeling off six unanswered points.

The Cougars could not match the effort of UTEP’s leading scorer Randy Culpepper, who scorched the Cougars for 33 points.

Alandise Harris led the Cougars in scoring with 18 points. McNeil had 13 points, and Nixon had 11 points and six assists.

The schedule will not get easier for the Cougars when they take on Memphis (20-7, 8-4) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the FedEx Forum.

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