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El Paso, TX — UTEP opened the second half with a 10-0 run and cruised to a 67-46 win over West Alabama in a Battle 4 Atlantis home game on Sunday at the Don Haskins Center.
Vince Hunter scored 14 points, McKenzie Moore 12, Cedrick Lang 11 and C.J. Cooper 10 for the Miners (2-1), who tallied the game’s first six points and never trailed.
UTEP went up 16-5 nine minutes into the game and led 28-20 at the break before blowing the game open in the first two and a half minutes of the second period.
After West Alabama cut a 19-point deficit (43-24) down to 13 (43-30) with 12:39 remaining, Matt Willms and Moore had dunks on back-to-back possessions to push the lead back to 17. UTEP went ahead by 21 points (58-37) on a free throw by Lang with 6:57 left, and duplicated its largest lead of the night with 1:13 remaining when Victor Mbachu hit a couple of foul shots.
West Alabama (1-2) was led by Cordell Pope, who scored 15 points. The Tigers’ Sandy Underwood, who came in averaging 28.5 points per game, took four shots, made one and scored five points.
UTEP shot 48.9 percent and outscored West Alabama 30-12 in the paint. The Tigers shot 24.7 percent, but outrebounded the Miners 46-40 – including 23-4 on the offensive glass.
Coach Tim Floyd made an adjustment to his starting lineup, with El Paso native Tevin Caldwell joining Lang, Hunter, Willms and Moore on the floor for the opening tip. UTEP’s leading scorer, Julian Washburn, played only seven minutes, while John Bohannon and Jalen Ragland did not see action after appearing in the first two games.
Freshman Jake Flaggert made his UTEP debut and played 16 minutes.
The Miners will host a pair of 2013 NCAA Tournament teams this week. UTEP will take on Colorado State on Tuesday and NM State on Saturday, both at 7:05 p.m.
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