It was a tough test for the UTEP Miners Thursday night at the Don Haskins Center.
UTEP facing the Rice Owls, a team that is currently in first place in Conference USA.
Despite a valiant effort, UTEP fell to league-leading Rice, 69-61.
It is the first C-USA setback at home for the Miners (11-6, 4-2 C-USA), who battled but ultimately saw the Owls (12-6, 7-0 C-USA) post their 26th straight win against Conference USA competition.
The Miners forced 21 turnovers and won the boards, 42-39, but it wasn’t enough to compensate for finishing at 33.3 percent (23-69) from the floor.
Rice led by 11 (52-41) with 9:15 to play in regulation before UTEP ripped off seven straight points to cut the deficit to four .
The Owls called timeout and managed to counter with a 9-0 push, and UTEP never got any closer.
UTEP will wrap up its three-game homestand against North Texas at 1 p.m. Saturday.