By Rickey Fuquay, Jr.//Contributing Writer
EL PASO, Texas – A strong second half performance wasn’t enough to secure a come-from-behind win as Middle Tennessee (12-10, 5-4 C-USA) suffered an 83-70 defeat to UTEP at Don Haskins Arena.
The Blue Raiders struggled on both sides of the ball and trailed 45-33 with 1:13 left in the first half. However, they would eventually cut the lead to seven points at the half, thanks to a 5-0 run that was capped off by a three-pointer by junior forward Darnell Harris with three seconds to go in the first half.
The Blue Raiders never gave up as they would eventually cut the lead to five points with 5:19 left in the second half thanks to a 24-point outburst; however the Miners took advantage of a 14-6 run capped off by three three-pointers and held the Blue Raiders to just one goal to eventually hang on for the 83-70 win.
Sophomore Reggie Upshaw led the Blue Raiders with 15 points along with 11 rebounds on 3-of-8 shooting from the field. Also in double figures was senior Jacquez Rozier, who tallied 12 points along with six rebounds on 6-of-9 shooting from the field.
The Miners (14-7, 6-3 C-USA) finished with five players in double figures. Senior Julian Washburn led the team with 18 points along with eight rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Sophomore Vince Hunter tallied 17 points along with six rebounds on 4-of-9 shooting from the field. Senior C.J. Cooper finished with 12 points along 5 assists on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Senior Cedrick Lang recorded 11 points along with 10 rebounds on 3-of-4 shooting from the field while junior Earvin Morris finished with 10 points along with four rebounds on 3-of-6 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.
Middle Tennessee shot 49 percent from the field on 24-of-49 shooting. They also shot a whopping 33 from beyond the arc on 5-of-15 shooting and committed 25 fouls.
UTEP finished the night shooting 50 percent from the field on 22-of-44 shooting. The Miners also shot a red-hot 75 percent from beyond the arc on 12-of-16 shooting and dished out 13 assists.
The Blue Raiders will look to get back on track when they return home for a matchup against Southern Mississippi on Thursday, February 5, 2015. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
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