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UTEP Miners lose third close game in a row as they fall 72-67 to Rice in OT

EL PASO, Texas -- UTEP fall 72-67 to Rice, their second straight loss in overtime.

The Miners led by 5 points early against Rice but then the Owls went on a 16-0 run to take an 11 point lead in the first half, from there the Miners would trail the entire contest. The Owls managed to extend the lead by 15 with 11:35 left to play.

UTEP managed to get back into the game thanks to a 13-2 run. That saw them trail by 1 with 32 seconds left. Calvin Solomon drew a foul with 3 seconds left giving them a chance to win the game.

He made his first free-throw to tie it at 62, but couldn't execute on the second shot so the game went to OT.

It's the Miners second overtime in as many games and their fourth of the season - the most since having five in 2011-12.

UTEP got on the board first in the extra period, but the Owls tallied five in a row to secure a lead they would never relinquish.

“You’ve got to take care of the basketball, we had 18 turnovers, that’s way too many,” Head coach Joe Golding said. “You’ve got to rebound the basketball, it was even on the glass, we should outrebound them on the glass. And then we didn’t make free throws. It’s hard to win close games when you do those things. You’re playing with fire, and it’s burned us now with Kent State, UAB and now this game.”

Mario McKinney Jr. came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points while Shamar Givance added 12 points, eight rebounds and a game-high six assists. Solomon flirted with a double-double (nine points, eight rebounds) while Otis Frazier III and Kevin Kalu both pitched in five points and five boards.

The Miners now have a week off before they play LA tech for the second time this season at p.m. MT on Jan. 7th.

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Rachel Phillips

Rachel Phillips is the weekend sports anchor and reporter


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