Great win for UTEP! Really. Tulsa could have taken sole possession of first place in Conference USA, but the young Miners, on a four-game losing streak, not only just held on, but continually pushed back, for a 64-55 win Wednesday.
It was the biggest conference win of the season, no doubt. Call it a big-time chin-up.
This does not mean the Miners (11-13) are NCAA-, or even NIT- bound this season. But when any team of freshmen and sophomores can really whip up on a conference leader after four losses in a row, well, it means a lot for the future of a program when even more talent is signed up for next season.
Yes, Tulsa stunk it up. That is, considering Tulsa is a good team that was on a seven-game winning streak. But UTEP made the Golden Hurricane stink it by using with some good defensive strategy that sunk into the mind-sets of the players. Perhaps the biggest note on this was UTEP didn't let Tulsa get inside for good percentage shots. That has been a Miner bain this season, giving up too many layups.
Meanwhile, UTEP did get inside. The Miners owned the paint. And that's usually a win no matter who is playing who.
This was a good one. UTEP was ahead by double digits by late in the first half, and Tulsa really never did/could make a dent. UTEP won by 9 points, but was ahead by double digits virtually all of the second half.