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February 27, 2013EL PASO, Texas - John Bohannon scored career highs with 24 points and17 rebounds Wednesday night in UTEP's 63-53 win over Houston in the Don Haskins Center. Bohannon hit 8 of 14 field goals, was 8 for 10 at the free-throw line and had four blocks.
"It felt good getting extended minutes and I was just trying to play to the best of my ability to help my team out with the win," Bohannon said.
Bohannon wasn't the only one who performed well for as Cedrick Lang finished with a double-double scoring 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, the first of his UTEP career.
"I just tried to go out there and work hard," Lang said. "Bo had a great game and a lot of guys played well. We played great together as a team overall."
"We got a great performance from our two big guys tonight," UTEP head coach Tim Floyd said. "We played through the low post probably more than we have and [Bohannon and Lang] caught it and kicked it when they needed to."
Earlier in the season, Floyd was disappointed in the lack of play from his frontcourt, especially the game in Houston against the Cougars. It was vastly different performance Wednesday as the Miners got the ball in the paint early and often.
Despite those opportunities, there were still instances in the game where the Miners struggled to capitalize.
UTEP was on top 25-12 in the first half and maintained their lead going into the second half. Unfortunately for the Miners, they went cold for nine minutes from the field before Bohannon scored his first points of the second half on a bucket from the paint.
Houston got within 43-41 with 7:08 remaining before the Miners closed the game on a 20-12 run. Bohannon scored 12 of UTEP's final 20 points.
"We have always said when big guys rebound, they score," Floyd said. "John (Bohannon) has his best game. It was real key that he kicked the ball out and didn't try and to do too much, didn't turn the ball over."
Jalen Ragland and C.J. Cooper came off the bench and contributed early, each making four 3-point shots and finishing with nine and eight points, respectively.
Houston's Joseph Young scored 23 points while TaShawn Thomas, who had scored at least 20 points in four straight games, was held to nine points.
"Cedrick guarded him for long stretches and I thought did a real nice job [defending] with the help of his teammates," Floyd said. "Every time [Thomas] caught it, we had a double team coming. We got it out of his hands and forced other guys to make plays."
The Cougars shot better than the Miners from the field (38 percent to 35 percent) and the 3-point line (4 for 11 compared to 4 for 21). But Houston committed 17 turnovers and was outrebounded 40-31.
UTEP will travel to Houston for a game against Rice Saturday before wrapping up their home schedule against Memphis Tuesday. They finish their season with a road game at SMU. The Miners need one more conference win to obtain a bye in the Conference USA tournament.