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January 12, 2014

Miners rally in the 2nd half to put away Marshall

Going into Saturday night's matchup, the Miners had never surrendered a home loss to the Thundering Herd in its Conference USA tenure. After forty minutes, that course of success continued as UTEP (11-6, 1-1 C-USA) came away with a 66-56 victory over Marshall (6-11, 0-2 C-USA) with the help of 7,551 fans.

UTEP started the game on a slow, but effort-intense, note. At a time when shots were not consistently falling, the Miners employed stout defense and strong drives to the basket from John Bohannon, Julian Washburn and Vince Hunter to keep the game competitive.

Marshall and UTEP exchanged baskets, turnovers, rebounds, and fouls that accounted for six ties and ten lead changes throughout the first half. While the Herd shot only 30% from the free throw line and allowed nine second chance points to the Miners, tipping the scale to a state of balance were Marshall's nine points off turnovers and four three-pointers made to UTEP's only one.

An unsmooth display of basketball that had both teams going back-and-forth with their own unique gains and drawbacks resulted in a 27-27 tie at the half.

Tim Floyd's squad must have discovered gold within themselves during halftime because the Miners came out of the locker room beaming. After receiving the second half's first possession, UTEP subsequently scored eight consecutive points and amassed a 25-7 run by the 10:43 mark.

Is was at that point -- up eighteen with 10:43 remaining -- that the momentum for the Miners began to decelerate. The Thundering Herd caused a tense remaining nine minutes as the Don Haskins Center crowd, despite its second consecutive vociferous showing, witnessed Marshall stampede its way back into the game -- coming within 5 points of a tie with 1:37 to play.

The five point deficit, however, turned out to be the apex of Marshall's run. UTEP fans were able to easily breathe again and stay off the edge of their seats as the Miners outscored the Thundering Herd 6-1 to conclude the final 1:37.

Next up: UTEP will visit Middle Tennessee State for their first intra-conference matchup in Murfreesboro, Tennessee at 6:00 PM on Thursday, January 16.

-John Bohannon had what Tim Floyd called "the best effort … in his career" with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 blocks (double-double, 3 assists short of a triple-double).

-Julian Washburn pitched in 17 points and 9 rebounds.

-Vince Hunter led the team in scoring with 20 points, going 6-of-7 from the field.

-The Miners limited the Thundering Herd to 31.1% from the field, 23.8% percent from the three, while the crowd aided in a 56.5% mark from the free throw line.

Coach Tim Floyd talks about the win.



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