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No. 24 UTEP Beats Marshall, Wins C-USA Regular Season Title

Wire and staff report

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – Randy Culpepper scored 32 points to lead No. 24 Texas-El Paso to an 80-76 victory over Marshall on Tuesday night, clinching the Miners’ first outright Conference USA championship.

UTEP was ahead 62-51 with 9 minutes remaining but surrendered the lead and needed a strong finish from Derrick Caracter, who scored 10 of his 18 points in the final 5 minutes. His layup with 31 seconds remaining put the Miners ahead 78-76.

Marshall lost the ball out of bounds with 10 seconds remaining and Culpepper completed the scoring with two free throws.

Claude Britten added 14 points for UTEP (23-5, 14-1), which has won 13 straight.

Tyler Wilkerson led Marshall (22-8, 10-5) with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Freshman Hassan Whiteside had 20 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots.

The championship is UTEP’s first outright championship title in more than 20 years.

The Miners, who have won 13games in a row, areranked No. 24 in the AP Poll andranked No. 21 in the ESPN-USA Today coaches’ poll.

UTEPwill close out the regular season at home against UAB on Saturday. The game is sold out and will be televised on Time Warner Cable MetroSports Southwest Channel 24 in El Paso.

Some tickets are being sold on Ebay and Craigslist El Paso. Caution is urged when buying tickets online from a secondary source.

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