Mean Green Taken Down By UTEP in Overtime
The UTEP Miners did not hold a lead the entire second half but came out on the winning side on Thursday night. The Miners outscored the North Texas basketball team 12-6 in overtime to take a 77-71 victory against the Mean Green at the Super Pit.
The visitors trailed the entire second half but tied the game twice in the final 2:20 of regulation to force overtime. North Texas led by as many as 10 points, but UTEP hit three 3-pointers in the final six minutes to cut into the deficit.
"We wanted to keep them out of the paint," North Texas head coach Tony Benford said. "I thought we did a good job early on, but we had some turnovers that cost us. I'm proud of how we played but it's really tough to keep coming up short."
The Mean Green have lost four home Conference USA games by single-digits this season.
The loss overshadowed standout performances by Ryan Woolridge, Derail Green and Shane Temara. Woolridge hit a jumper with 2:44 left in the second half to put North Texas ahead by three points, 62-59. UTEP's Dominic Artis responded with a 3-pointer that tied the game. Woolridge answered again with a 3-pointer of his own to give the lead back to North Texas, 65-62, with 1:46 on the clock.
Paul Thomas completed a 3-point play for UTEP to tie the game at 65. A.J. Lawson had an opportunity to win the game but his shot came up short with three seconds on the clock.
"A.J. had a good look at the basket, but it just didn't go in," said Benford. "We have to make free-throws."
UTEP took its first lead since the end of the first half at the start of the overtime period with two free throws. The Miners jumped out by five following a 3-pointer by Artis, who finished the game with 19 points.
Lawson cut the lead to two points, 72-70, with a dunk and had an opportunity to tie the game but missed the front end of a 1-and-1. UTEP went on to make 5-of-6 free throws to seal the win.
Woolridge recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds and was one assist shy of a triple-double with a personal-best nine assists.
Green recorded a career-high 21 points, including a 7-for-11 performance from behind the arc.
Green led North Texas on a 15-6 run to open the second half, giving North Texas its largest lead of the game, 44-34, at 14:18. The graduate transfer made three 3-pointers in that run.
UTEP used a 9-0 run to cut that advantage to one point before Green hit his seventh 3-pointer of the night to put North Texas back ahead by four, 47-43 at 10:56.
Temara was a strong force down low, scoring 15 points. After UTEP cut the lead to two points, 47-45, back-to-back baskets by Temara, including a dunk, put North Texas back ahead by six, 51-45, at 8:45.
After struggling from 3-point range early on, UTEP began to hit from downtown in the final minutes of the second half.
North Texas hit five 3-pointers in the first half, including three by Green, to take a 29-28 halftime lead against UTEP.
The Mean Green continue their homestand with a Saturday afternoon game against UTSA on Feb. 18 at 3 p.m.