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UTEP guts out 72-65 win at Jax State behind Frazier III’s career night

(Courtesy: UTEP Athletics)

JACKSONVILLE, Alabama - Otis Frazier III poured in a career-high 24 points to pace a quintet of Miners in double figures in scoring, and UTEP forced 24 turnovers on the way to a 72-65 win in front of a feisty crowd at Jax State Thursday.

The Miners (14-15, 5-9 CUSA) halted a four-game skid and picked up their first road win in the process, in addition to completing the season sweep of the Gamecocks (14-15, 6-8 CUSA).

There were six ties and eight lead changes, but the Orange and Blue staved off every rally attempt to play from ahead for the final 14 minutes.

UTEP shot a stout 52.9 percent (27-51) from the floor to eclipse 50 percent for the seventh time this season.

It also took care of business at the charity stripe with a readout of 82.4 percent (14-17), including 10-12 in the second half.

Factor in the aforementioned 24 turnovers forced that led to 24 points helped the Miners overcome some other discrepancies.

The biggest among them was Jax State going 21-32 at the charity stripe despite the Orange and Blue holding a whopping 42-22 advantage in the paint.

The home side also shot it well (48.7 percent), but UTEP got stops down the stretch to hold on.

Derick Hamilton came off the bench to score 12 points on a perfect 6-6 shooting while Zid Powell (11 points, five assists), Tae Hardy (11 points, four assists) and David Terrell Jr. (11 points-all in the second half) all got after it offensively.

UTEP, which leads the nation in steals per game and turnovers forced per contest, added to its school-record single-season total for thefts with 15 while marching closer to the mark for turnovers forced.

Frazier III led the charge with seven steals-one shy of equaling the program standard which he tied earlier this year- while Powell and Hardy joined him with multiple steals by tallying three each.

Jax State was paced by CUSA’s leading scorer KyKy Tandy with 22 points. Quincy Clark joined him in double digits for scoring with 16 points.

“I’m just happy for our guys, really really happy for them,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “We talked about it all week. This team doesn’t have any quit in them. They’ve been a resilient group. To gut it out and get a road win, this is a tough place to play. It was really loud, obviously a great student section. I’m just proud of our guys. I thought our toughness was really good. Our bench was terrific all game. It wasn’t the prettiest at the end. Up and down the line (guys performed).”

UTEP came up with a steal and coast-to-coast score on a hanging, athletic lay-up by Hardy to get on the board first.

The home side struck back with seven in a row to secure the lead at the first media timeout of the tilt.

The Miners ended the push out of the break with a cutting lay-up for Hardy on the feed from Jon Dos Anjos. 

The score was part of an 10-3 run by the Miners to pull ahead, 12-10, and force Jax State to call timeout.

Frazier III provided four straight points, including a turnaround hook shot after backing down his defender. Hamilton then tallied back-to-back baskets in the post to cap it.

The Gamecocks stopped a nearly three-minute drought with a score, but a finger roll by Powell immediately sent the Orange and Blue back ahead.

Frazier III added consecutive driving lay-ups through traffic to fuel a mini 6-0 run and gift UTEP with an 18-12 cushion (9:10, 1H). The home side responded with eight straight to pull ahead by a pair (20-18, 5:12, 1H).

Hardy halted it by attacking the rim from the right wing and banking home the shot.

After Hardy took his second charge of the period, Hamilton deftly dropped home a shot.

The Miners got another stop before Frazier III was pure on a corner 3-pointer to finish off a 7-0 run in the blink of an eye.

The surge afforded the Miners a five-point cushion (25-20, 3:36, 1H), but the Gamecocks responded with a 9-4 sequence to deadlock the contest at 29.

UTEP was up one (32-31) with 43 ticks left in the opening frame, but it tallied the final five points in the stanza to carry a 37-31 advantage into the locker room.

They were all courtesy of Frazier III.

He filled up a 3-pointer from the left wing and then knocked down 2-3 at the charity stripe after he was fouled on a half-court heave with time winding down. It was sharp shooting down the stretch of the half, with UTEP making 7-8 and Jax State connecting on its final five tries.

Each squad scored on its opening possession of the second half, with Powell burying a triple to answer a post score at the other end.

Tandy responded with a 3-pointer of his own, which was followed by a free throw for the Gamecocks to trim the UTEP cushion to three (40-37).

After a score from Frazier III, Jax State tallied five in a row to tie the tilt for the seventh time.

Terrell Jr. stopped the push with a pair of tosses at the charity stripe.

Jax State tied it and then went ahead by one before Hamilton finished in the post.

Frazier III then came up with a steal and raced up the court for the transition lay-up.

The Orange and Blue would never trail again. 

UTEP nudged it to six (54-48) following a pair of free throws by Frazier III and a left-handed lay-up by Powell, prompting a timeout by Jax State with the Miners up by six (54-48, 9:49, 2H).

Terrell Jr. scored the next four for the Orange and Blue, including a little hook shot in traffic.

The Gamecocks, however, sandwiched his points with two 3-pointers to make it a three-point margin (58-55) in favor of UTEP with about eight minutes to go.

Jax State then missed a lay-up and Powell raced up the court for the one-hand dunk, in a huge swing.

After the home side trimmed it to three, a dunk by Calvin Solomon was followed by a pair of free throws by Powell to make the differential seven (64-57, 5:51, 2H).

The margin was five (66-61) with exactly three minutes to play when Dos Anjos was fouled. He sank 1-2, keeping it a two-possession game.

Jax State got a basket on the ensuing trip, stopping a nearly five-minute drought without a field goal.

After empty trips by both sides, Terrell Jr. was fouled on a loose ball after the Miners came up with a steal.

He split the pair, with Jax State being fouled on the rebound.

The home side converted on both free throws, trimming UTEP’s lead to three (68-65) with 59 seconds to play.

The Miners locked up the Gamecocks in the final minutes while getting four points, including a dagger on a driving lay-up by Hardy to make it a five-point tilt with 35 seconds left. Frazier III fittingly capped the night for the Orange and Blue with the steal and fastbreak score.

UTEP plays its final road game of the regular season at Liberty at 5 p.m. MT/7 p.m. ET on Saturday, vying for a perfect week. 

Jon Teicher (43rd year) will be on the call on "The Home of UTEP Basketball" 600 ESPN El Paso and the UTEP Miners App for both. It will also stream on ESPN+

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.


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