DALLAS --- The SMU Mustangs used a 15-2 run to get within 64-61 with two minutes left before falling 74-68 to UTEP at Moody Coliseum on Saturday. Randy Culpepper led UTEP with 28 points and Mouhammad Faye led SMU with 19 points, 15 in the second half, in both team's Conference USA opener.
With SMU trailing 62-46, Faye hit consecutive three-pointers at 6:31 and 5:46 followed by a three pointer for Robert Nyakundi at 4:51. UTEP interrupted the run when Culpepper hit two free throws at 4:19. The Bamba Fall hit a layup for the Mustangs followed by another three for Faye. After Fay hit another free throw, Tavaris Watts hit a shot for UTEP that thwarted the SMU rally.
Papa Dia and Paul McCoy each scored 10 for SMU (5-8, 0-1 Conference USA). Bamba Fall had a career-high 14 rebounds with eight points for the Mustangs. Stefon Jackson scored 22 for UTEP (10-5, 1-0 Conference USA).
Culpepper hit six 3-pointers for UTEP (10-5, 1-0 Conference USA), which has won five of six. Faye hit 3-of-5 from long range for SMU.
SMU shot 50 percent in the second half and outscored UTEP 44-43 in the period. The Mustangs hit 44.1 percent from the floor for the game. The Miners shot 45.6 percent.
The Mustangs are at Rice on Wednesday in a nationally-televised game on CBS College Sports Network at 7 p.m. SMU returns home next Saturday when Tulane comes to Moody Coliseum for a 7 p.m. contest. For tickets call 214-SMU-GAME or visit SMUMustangs.com.