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El Paso, TX – — Freshman Matt Willms had a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, as the Orange knocked off the White 63-51 in UTEP’s annual preseason scrimmage on Saturday night in the Don Haskins Center.
Cedrick Lang also had a double-double for the Orange with 14 points and 16 boards. The Orange outrebounded the White 41-31 before a crowd of about 3,000 fans.
“I loved it just from the standpoint that we had a lot of people here,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “It’s interesting to see how players respond to the crowd. I think they were really generally excited to get out here with timers, scorers and officials, lights and people in the stands. We learn something every time we go out in situations like that.”
The Orange broke open a close game with a 10-0 run, extending a 36-34 lead to 46-34 early in the second half. The White rallied to make it a two-point affair (50-48) on a layup by El Pasoan Tevin Caldwell with 6:36 remaining. But the Orange scored the next seven points, including four from Julian Washburn, to pull away for the victory.
Washburn (15 points) and Jalen Ragland (13) joined Willms and Lang in double figure scoring. John Bohannon led the White with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Vince Hunter chipped in with 15 points.
“I thought a couple of freshmen played with poise,” Floyd said. “I thought Matt Willms ran the floor well and caught and finished well. He had confidence in his 15-footer and his free throws. I felt like I could trust him. I thought Vince Hunter was a little nervous early, and he settled in and played all right down the stretch. Jake Flaggert did some good things. I liked the offensive rebounding and the offensive rebound baskets, which has not been a real strong part of our team in the past.”
The teams combined for a total of 27 offensive rebounds – including six each from Caldwell and Willms – and 30 second chance points.
Earlier in the evening, Justin Crosgile won the Miners’ three-point shootout, hitting 8-of-15 attempts in the finals to best Tyler Tafoya (7-for-15), and Flaggert was champion of the Slam Dunk Showoff.
UTEP will take on Southeastern Oklahoma in an exhibition doubleheader with the women’s team on Saturday (Nov. 2) at 7:05 p.m. The women will battle St. Mary’s (Texas) at 4:30 p.m.
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