UTEP was going to lose with 0:04 seconds to play at East Carolina Saturday, and there was a litany of reasons why that was to be.
Then McKenzie Moore made a long, long 3-pointer, from far above the top of the circle, for a 68-67 win. It was a close game all the way; another UTEP blow-for-blow with an opponent. UTEP put back on display a penchant for good defense, but an inability to make an offensive run. Finish off those close shot attempts, already!
On this night it was the Miners' turn to prevail when neither team was acting dominant. East Carolina, for example, make 20 of 21 free throws, but couldn't win a home game against a Miner team that made only 16 of 27 and missed many close shots. If it wasn't a Chris Washburn dunk, it was an "ohhhh, he (name a Miner) missed the shot!"
This was a night UTEP's mystery talent, John Bohannan, had a press-clippings game with 23 points and the free throws that kept this a blow-for-blow game into the last two minutes.
UTEP is now 11-7 (4-1 in Conference USA. East Carolina is 12-7 (3-3)
UTEP has the defense to challenge for the league title. If it can learn to put the ball in the basket from 5, 10 and 15 feet - instead of from Hail Mary outer space - Coach Tim Floyd has his program-building in forward motion.