Dominic Artis scored 17 points and Terry Winn had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as UTEP pulled away late for an 80-73 exhibition win over Southeastern Oklahoma State on Sunday at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners scored eight consecutive points from the 10:04 mark of the second half to 8:23, as they turned a 56-55 lead into a 64-55 margin. Artis tallied four points during the run, two coming off his own steal and two coming off a takeaway by Omega Harris.
UTEP took its biggest lead of 11 points (71-60) on a three-point play by freshman Tim Cameron with 3:57 to go.
After allowing 43 points and a .583 (14-for-24) field goal percentage to the Savage Storm in the first half, the Miners turned in a more staunch defensive effort over the final 20 minutes. Southeastern Oklahoma State scored 30 points and shot 38.7 percent from the field (2-for-10 from three-point range) during that span.
“We played a really good shooting team tonight,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “We have not been a pressing team. We tried to integrate a little pressing into what we’re doing this year. We didn’t really do that successfully. I thought it led to a lot of easy baskets for them on the other end. The 43 points that we gave up in the first half was disappointing, but not totally unexpected.”
The Savage Storm bolted to a 14-4 lead in the first four minutes, but UTEP rallied to go ahead 46-43 at the break. The Miners didn’t trail after Harris’ layup made it 53-52 with 14:38 to play.
The Miners outscored the Savage Storm 34-22 in the paint and had a 39-30 rebounding edge. UTEP also scored 32 points off 22 turnovers by the visitors.
Harris had an efficient game for UTEP with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field and 2-for-3 from outside. He also dished out three assists with no turnovers in 31 minutes.
Paul Thomas added nine points and five rebounds. Trey Touchet (eight points) and Kelvin Jones (six points, six rebounds) led the bench effort as a total of 13 players saw action in the game.
“I saw really nice flashes from Kelvin Jones in terms of why we brought him here,” Floyd said. “His athleticism jumped out at us a couple of times, his ability to run the floor, his willingness to run the floor versus last Saturday in our Orange and White game was a positive.”
UTEP finished with a .443 field goal percentage to Southeastern Oklahoma State’s .473.
“We allowed too many post catches as a team,” Floyd said. “I thought their dribble penetrations and kicks were real troublesome for us defensively in the first half. I thought we were much better at that in the second half.
“Some guys probably took too many shots and not quality shots and tried to do too much with the ball versus just moving it sometimes. It led to turnovers, it led to what I would deem as questionable shots from a couple of our guys. Those are things that I love about exhibition games, is that we can see players maybe try to do things that they don’t do in practice, just because there are a few people in the stands and a few people sitting on press row. We will go back and address all of those things.”
The Miners were without Matt Willms, who is battling a stress reaction in his foot and out for a minimum of one week, and freshman guard Deon Barrett, who sat out for violating team rules.
UTEP will have one more tune-up prior to the regular season tipping off on Nov. 12. The Miners will host Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday (Nov. 5) at 1 p.m. prior to the football team’s game against Houston Baptist at 6.