PULLMAN, WASH. – Conor Clifford and Josh Hawkinson combined for 32 points and made 12-of-15 shots as Washington State shot 55 percent from the field in an 84-68 victory over UTEP on Sunday afternoon at Beasley Coliseum.
Que Johnson scored 11 points and Derrien King added 10 off the bench for the Cougars (6-2), who won for the first time in game three of a four-game set with the Miners (6-3). The teams will square off once again at the Don Haskins Center during the 2016-17 season.
“We got beat by a better team tonight,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “They thoroughly dominated us with their two big guys inside. We’re not a very good defensive team right now. We are not great in any area defensively, either guarding the dribble, post coverage, defensive rebounding or defensive transition.”
The Miners scored the game’s first five points and didn’t trail until 7:32 remaining in the half, when Johnson’s foul shot put the Cougars ahead 22-21. That was part of an 8-0 Washington State run that turned a 21-16 deficit into a 24-21 lead.
Later, King made back-to-back three pointers to push the Cougars’ lead to seven (34-27) with 3:45 to play in the half. Washington State led 39-33 at the break. King was 3-for-3 from outside in the first 20 minutes.
The Miners couldn’t get stops to start the second half, as Washington State made six of its first seven shots to build a 52-39 cushion. UTEP cut it to six (53-47) on a layup by Terry Winn with 14:52 to play. But the Cougars scored the next eight points, including six from Renard Suggs, to power ahead 61-47. Washington State maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Lee Moore scored 13 points to lead the Miners. Earvin Morris and Winn added 12 each, and Hooper Vint had 10.
“Offensively our starting three perimeter guys were 11-for-37 from the floor,” Floyd said. “We only had 10 assists and we had 13 turnovers. The guard play was not good enough tonight and we played a team that’s a little bit more experienced than us. I thought they played really, really well coming off of a loss in their last game.”
A positive for the Miners was that they were competitive on the boards against the bigger Cougars. Washington State outrebounded UTEP 38-36, but the Miners had a 16-8 edge on the offensive glass.
The Cougars had a big advantage at the free throw line as they were 24-for-36 to the Miners’ 17-for-26.
Hawkinson registered his fifth double-double of the season and 25th of his career with 14 boards.
The Miners will be home for six straight games starting on Saturday (Dec. 19) when they host NM State in the rematch of the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10. Tip-off is slated for 7:05 p.m. and fans are encouraged to wear orange.
“We’re going to have to put this one behind us and get ready for the Aggies on Saturday,” Floyd said.
Author: UTEP Athletics