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January 14, 2013EL PASO, Texas - Leading by as many as 28 points in the game, the UTEP Miners easily defeated the Houston Baptist Huskies, 72-44, Monday night in the Don Haskins Center in front of a crowd of 6,608.
Konner Tucker scored 12 points while Cedrick Lang and Julian Washburn added 11 points each in the win.
"It was a nice win for us," head coach Tim Floyd said. "We felt like we didn't need to give one away and should have won the game as our personnel is a little better than the group we played tonight."
After the win on Saturday against Marshall, Floyd said it was going to be a point to try and get as many players as much playing time as possible against Houston Baptist (4-13) and he did just that by utilizing a heavy rotation of players towards the end of the first half and most of the second.
"I love the fact that those kids didn't come out and try and perform but played the way we want them to play," Floyd said. "They didn't get outside of themselves and they were able to extend the lead, play together and share the ball and not play for numbers."
"I feel like we grew and got better as a team and some of the guys that don't play as much got in there and did well for us," McKenzie Moore said. "We all got to learn, help them out and try to explain to each other what's going on the court."
UTEP's bench scored 27 points and the miners were able to get 30 points in the paint. For the third straight game, the Miners out-rebounded their opponent, pulling down 43 to Houston Baptist's 37.
Caleb Crayton did present an issue for UTEP scoring 14 in the game with Art Bernardi adding 10, but the Miners were able to nullify the threats thanks to 30 defensive rebounds.
"They are a pretty good team and we weren't going to take them lightly," Tucker said. "Our ultimate goal was to have everybody play and it was good to get that done."
UTEP will face a quick turnaround in the next 48 hours as they prepare and travel to Tulsa for a Conference USA matchup.
'We have an opportunity now in going to Tulsa to play a team that's always been a problem for us on the road," Floyd said. "They have a new formula that they are using with the new coaching staff and they are playing personnel that we are not overly familiar with. It's a quick turnaround game for us and very important because it's a league game."
Despite not having a lot of preparation time, playing Houston Baptist did afford the Miners an opportunity to work on some challenges similar to Tulsa.
"We are going to see a lot of what (Tulsa) runs in what (Houston Baptist) ran as far as screen and rolls," Tucker said. "We got to work on that today a little bit and Tuesday) we'll work on it more. We just have to get ready for Tulsa and get prepared to give us our best chance to win."
Tipoff for Wednesday's game is scheduled for 6 pm and can be heard on KOFX with Jon Teicher announcing.
Chris Avila can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow him on Twitter at @chrisavila_01. Make sure to follow Miner Illustrated on Twitter at @minermaniac for more up-to-date news and information about UTEP.