NT Hoops Falls At UTEP, But Remains In Control Of Own Destiny
Despite The Loss NT Still Sixth In C-USA Standings Heading Into Finale At UTSA
Muhammed Ahmed came off the bench to score 13 points in the loss at UTEP on Thursday night.
EL PASO, Texas - North Texas can be a pretty tough team to handle if it takes care of the basketball and executes its offense. UTEP is the kind of team that can eat you alive if you don't.
The Miners (20-9, 12-5 C-USA) turned 13 Mean Green turnovers into 21 points in a wire-to-wire 83-60 win at the Don Haskins Center.
Luckily for the Mean Green (14-15, 8-9 C-USA), the loss won't cost them in the Conference USA standings. Rice and Middle Tennessee remain tied with NT for sixth place, but North Texas owns the tiebreaker over both squads.
A win at UTSA at Saturday afternoon's regular-season finale would give the Mean Green the No. 6 seed in next week's C-USA Tournament. A loss to the Roadrunners would send NT into the logjam of five other squads within a game of the Mean Green in the standings.
Vince Hunter led a potent UTEP attack with 19 points and eight boards. C.J. Cooper tallied 17 points.
The Miners raced to a 10-2 lead fueled by paint muscle and gritty defense, and never looked back. Cedric Lang bullied his way to a pair of layups in the opening minutes, and the UTEP defense forced a pair of turnovers and 1-of-4 shooting from the Mean Green.
UTEP would go on to lead by as much as 27 points early in the second half, and shoot 59.6 percent on the evening - the highest by a Mean Green opponent this year.
On Thursday, North Texas faced UTEP in El Paso for the first time since 1963. The Miners have now won the last seven meetings against the Mean Green.
The 23 point loss to the Miners is NT's second largest of the season, and NT's biggest in league play this year.
Colin Voss had made his last 23 free throw attempts, but the senior didn't get an attempt from the line. In fact, NT shot a season-low nine free throws.
North Texas continutes its two-game Lone Star State road swing with a Saturay afternoon matchup at UTSA. Tipoff from the Convocation Center is slated for 2 p.m. and it can be heard on the Mean Green Radio Network.