UTEP runs past Pirates 77-68, will face Golden Eagles in quarterfinals


Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter

The UTEP men came into the Conference USA tournament with a first-round bye and a No. 5 seed facing No. 12 East Carolina.

UTEP never trailed in the game and led by as much as 23 early in the second half. They rolled past the Pirates 77-68.

UTEP used its traditional style of getting easy points in the paint with their “high-low” offense and holding teams to a low field goal percentage. The Miners built their lead upon not allowing the Pirates to get comfortable shooting the ball, which happens to be their biggest asset.

In their first round matchup, Pirate’s Akeem Richmond went for 36 points and made 11-19 from three. Akeem Richmond only attempted six tonight. Washburn would have this assignment well taken care of. Richmond made three three-pointers tonight, two of which came late in a game the Miners had wrapped up.

“I thought we played really inspired defensively in the first half. Julian played inspired like he always does,” said head coach Tim Floyd. “I don’t know why I never pull him out (Washburn). He never gets tired, just one of those guys that can run all day long.”

The Mines had four players in double figures. Washburn led with 20 points , followed by Bohannon who had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The Miners controlled the points in the paint stat by a margin of 36-12.

Defensive rebounding is what leads to UTEP’s points. East Carolina shot 38.5 percent for the game.

Next comes the grudge match of UTEP and Southern Mississippi. The Miners lost earlier in the year on the road to Southern Miss.

Senior John Bohannon understands the mentality to have when in conference tournament play.

“There is no tomorrow. We’re just trying to take it one game at a time,” Bohannon said.

The game will be played Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center.

Luis Barrio may be reached @Luis_Barrio17