Tulsa hands UTEP second straight loss

Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

It was a bitter ending tonight in the regular season home finale for the UTEP seniors, forward John Bohannon and Tyler Tafoya.

The Miners tried but too many turnovers in the game resulted in a 60-65 game to the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.

It’s the Miners 2nd straight loss and third in the last five games.

“Tulsa just beat us. We made mistakes we haven’t been making. We had two turnovers late in the open floor with a two-point game. Too many turnovers for us tonight,” said head coach Tim Floyd.

The Miners had 17 turnovers and made critical mental mistakes like fouling a three-point shooter late and allowing offensive rebounds when Tulsa would shoot free throws.

The Miners couldn’t make any threes tonight, as they went 0-8 from beyond the arc. The Golden Hurricanes went 2-19.

Bohannon could not buy a basket in the first half missing close range shots in the post. The second half he came out and scored all of his 20 points to add 10 rebounds.

He scored nine of the teams first 15 points in the second half.

“It’s a very bitter taste in my mouth right now,” Bohannon said. “I still feel like we have a chance to redeem ourselves. We still have the tournament on this floor.”

The Miners throughout the second half initiated their 3-1-1 half-court defense that created problems for the Golden Hurricanes.

Despite pressure, the Golden Hurricanes quickly responded and made shots at crucial moments.  The Miners trailed much of the second half and Tulsa responded every time the Miners got close.

Tulsa came into the game holding a five game winning steak and holding their opponents to under 66 points in the process. UTEP laid claim to that stat tonight.

“A lot of self-inflicted turnovers tonight. I’m sure our players would love to have that one back,” Floyd.

With the lack of perimeter players for UTEP, post players like junior Cedric Lang and freshman Mat Willms will have to improve from tonight’s offensive output. The two players combined for four points.

The move puts the Miners at 20-9 for the season with a 10-4 conference record. The Miners dropped to fifth place with the loss, with two more games to go, the Miners cannot finish worse than fifth and need to win last two games against North Texas and UTSA, in addition to a Middle Tennessee State or Louisiana Tech loss to clinch a double bye.

“Anything can happen in March. We still feel confident in ourselves,” Bohannon said.

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected]