EL PASO, Texas - Jalen Ragland scored 17 points and John Bohannon had a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds, as the UTEP Miners defeated the Idaho Vandals, 64-60, Saturday night in the Don Haskins Center.
"I just came into the game with confidence," Ragland said. "I hit the first couple shots and just got on a roll after that. It all started with defense though. It's just gets you into the flow of a game where you are intense and that helped my shots fall."
Ragland's early shots helped the Miners (3-4) build a halftime lead of three over Idaho (3-5) and continued to shoot well, particularly from the free throw line which helped extend UTEP's lead with a 18-2 run to open the second half.
The Miners almost let the game slip away late in the second half when Idaho utilized a 17-2 run to get back into the game. With just over a minute left, UTEP's lead of 18 had dwindled to a couple of points. Jacques Streeter hit a long jumper with 12 seconds left to extend the lead back to four points but Idaho's Robert Harris answered back with a jump shot of his own.
Julian Washburn then inbounded the ball on a long entry pass from Cedrick Lang and after being fouled immediately, he made both of his free throw shots.
"We gave up a significant lead," Floyd said. "We subbed and lost a little of our punch on the offensive end, shouldn't have but did. Defensively we immediately gave up a three to Connor Hill, who was just outstanding all game."
Hill finished the game with 16 points for the Vandals. Julian Washburn finished with 16 points for the Miners
UTEP was 14-for-18 from the line for the game and it helped make the difference.
"The foul line paid great dividends because we only made two field goals the final 12:15 of the ball game," head coach Tim Floyd said. "Chris Washburn made a few, Bohannon made a few and Julian's two free throws at the end were large. We needed them."
The Miners found a way to minimize the offensive firepower of Kyle Barron and Stephen Madison, both who scored 49 points in the Vandals previous game against Eastern Washington.
"I thought the key to the game was the job that out big guys did on Barone," Floyd said. "He's a pre-season pick for player of the year in their league and he had 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds) in their last game. Tonight he had one field goal"
"The job we did on Madison, that was Julian Washburn, he had 29 in their last game and 11 boards. Tonight he had nine points," Floyd continued. "(Barron and Madison) had 49 points in their last ball game. So that's obviously a real key to the win for us."
UTEP will be away from the basketball court for the next week as the university begins finals. The Miners will take on UNLV on December 17 and follow that game up with a matchup against Oregon.
"We have two really big games that I think our fans will love in UNLV and Oregon," Floyd said.