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UTEP Battles Before Oregon Pulls Away In Second Half To Down Miners, 71-49

EUGENE, Oregon (KVIA) -- The UTEP Miners (6-4) had an eight-point lead in the first half but Oregon (6-2) tied it up before pulling away in the second half to down UTEP, 71-49, Saturday night.

The Orange and Blue finished at 36.0 percent from the floor (18-50), with pressure from Oregon causing some issues. UTEP also got into foul trouble, with two starters (Kevin Kalu and Zid Powell) missing significant time to disrupt the rhythm on offense.

The Ducks connected on 54.5 percent (24-44) overall from the floor, but UTEP kept them in check from distance. Oregon was only 4-17 (23.5 percent) from beyond-the-arc, a severe drop from its 39.2 percentage (23rd NCAA) heading into the game.

UTEP harassed Oregon into 18 turnovers, doubling its seasonal average (9.3 tpg) prior to the contest (16th fewest in NCAA). The Miners had 18 turnovers as well. The difference was that Oregon notched 29 points off giveaways compared to 11 by UTEP.

Frazier III pulled down a team-high six rebounds while Corey Camper Jr. added five boards to go along with his five points off the bench. Kalu fought through the foul woes to tally seven points and snag four boards. No one else on the squad had more than four points.

UTEP recorded 10 steals, and it now has posted at least eight steals in all eight tilts this campaign.

Five players hit double figures in scoring for Oregon, led by Jermaine Couisinard’s game-best 18 points.

“We talked about it (turnovers) before the game, but we continue to do it. You can’t go on the road and turn it over,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “The first half, we did some good things. Some shots didn’t go in, but we did some good things. We got the ball moving and caught them on their heels a little bit. They woke a up a little bit to end the half. Then we come out in the second half a completely different team.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Golding said. “We’ve got finals, so we’ve obviously got to get to work academically and then we’ll work on our basketball team as well. Oregon is a really good team that’s going to finish in the top three or four of the Pac-12.”

The Ducks took an early 8-2 lead five minutes into the contest before consecutive 3-pointers by Sebastian Cole and Hardy, respectively, pulled the Miners even. Frazier III then converted a lay-up, which was followed by Hardy splitting a pair of free throws, to cap a 9-0 run for the Orange and Blue. UTEP’s defense was instrumental in the stretch as well, coercing Oregon into making four turnovers in the sequence.

The home side halted it with a jumper, but the Miners went right back to work. This time it was in the form of a 7-0 surge to suddenly vault out by eight (18-10, 8:36 1H) and force the Ducks to call timeout. It was fueled again by defense, with UTEP harassing Oregon into making three more turnovers during the stretch. Offensively, Hardy started it off with a personal 5-0 run before Powell hammered home a dunk over a defender to put an emphatic finish to the surge.

The Ducks struck back with an 10-0 push over the next four minutes on the way to regaining the lead at 20-18 (4:07 1H). It was back and forth down the stretch of the stanza, with UTEP facing a three-point deficit (28-25) heading into halftime.

Both teams got some easy buckets to start the second half, including a powerful flush for Kalu after David Terrell Jr. sliced through traffic and dropped it off for him. That play brought UTEP to within two (36-34, 15:36 2H), but Oregon found some breathing room by peeling off seven straight points.

A transition basket by Frazier III halted the surge. He then split a pair of free throws on the Miners’ ensuing possession to make it a six-point contest (45-39, 12:06), but Oregon had a response.

The Ducks tallied the next 11 points in the game before Hardy halted it with a 3-pointer, but the damage had been done. UTEP played hard down the stretch but was unable to get back into the ballgame. 

UTEP will be off until it plays at Abilene Christian at 2 p.m. MT/3 p.m. CT on Dec. 17. The game will be broadcast on "The Home of UTEP Basketball" 600 ESPN El Paso and streamed live on ESPN+ (subscription required).

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Rachel Phillips

UTEP Athletics


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