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El Paso, TX — UTEP battered Sacramento State on the boards and at the foul line on its way to a 69-51 win over the Hornets on Saturday at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners broke open a close game with a 14-0 run late in the first half. UTEP was ahead 34-21 at the midway point and coasted in the last 20 minutes, opening leads of as many as 21 points.
UTEP (5-4) outrebounded Sacramento State (2-4) 45-30, as Julian Washburn tied his career high with 10 caroms and John Bohannon had a near double-double with 13 points and nine boards.
The Miners also finished 30-for-45 at the charity stripe, led by McKenzie Moore who was 10-for-10. Sacramento State was 11-for-14 at the line.
Sacramento State received 22 points from Mikh McKinney, but leading scorer Dylan Garrity played only 13 minutes before exiting with an ankle injury.
“We played a team that’s not as talented as the teams we played [in the Bahamas last week], but really organized and played together and had a plan,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “It really hurt them when Garrity got hurt in the first half. I hope he didn’t break his ankle. Our plan was to not let those two guards get going, and they kind of got going. Garrity is a good player. We were trying to deny McKinney all night long and he still had 17 attempts. So we have room to grow in that area.”
The Miners led 18-16 before going on the 14-0 run. They maintained a double digit cushion the rest of the night.
UTEP outscored Sacramento State 28-12 in the paint as Bohannon, Matt Willms (12 points), Vince Hunter (nine) and Cedrick Lang (six) combined for 40 points.
“We rebounded the ball well and got to the line,” Floyd said. “We’re still struggling making free throws obviously. We tried to utilize this game to give Vince Hunter minutes at [small forward] so we could improve our rebounding and get one more rebounder in the lineup. He is an active young guy. He’s trying to figure the game out right now, but he sure has a lot of talent and he showed that by getting to the line 13 times tonight. I thought our big guys played well across the board. Hooper didn’t abuse the minutes he got. I thought Cedrick, John Bohannon, Matt Willms and Vince all played well.”
McKenzie Moore led UTEP with 14 points and added seven rebounds, but drew coach Floyd’s ire and will not play in the Miners’ next game.
“I didn’t like his actions tonight on the floor as we pulled him out of the game,” Floyd said. “I think he needs to learn to handle the little bit of success that he has had. He needs to learn to defer at times and be a better teammate. We’ll utilize this next ballgame to see if we can watch some growth with him as a Miner and understand the appreciation of wearing a Miner uniform.”
The Miners will take a break for finals and won’t play again until Monday, Dec. 16, when they’ll host New Orleans at 7:05 p.m. The nine-day break between games is UTEP’s longest of the season.
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