Miners down Huskies

The University of Texas at El Paso were paced by Roy Smallwood's 15 points as they defeated the Washington Huskies 74-62 this evening at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners opened up a lead in the first five minutes of the second half and Bob Bender's squad was never able to overcome the deficit.

Washington and UTEP exchanged baskets early. The Huskies went on top by six early, only to see the Miners erase that and go on top by six themselves at 36-30. Back to back three pointers by Josh Barnard pulled the Huskies even at 36-all at intermission. Washington relied solely on the perimeter games of Barnard (11 points, three of three from long range) and Grant Leep, who had 12, including three of three from beyond the three point line. limbed back to make it 36-all at the half behind torrid shooting from both senior Grant Leep and junior Josh Barnard. Leep had 12, including three treys, before half while Barnard also hit all three of his three-point attempts and had 11 at the break.

Unfortunately the Huskies kept hoping that their outside game would carry them in the second half. The Miners began to defend the Huskies much closer on the perimeter and contest Washington's long range jumpers more. The results were immediate and decisive, as the Huskies kept flinging from outside and their shots began to clank the iron.

The Miners opened up their largest lead, going on a 15-5 run to pull ahead 52-43 in the first five minutes of the second half.

Still, Washington didn't roll over and die. Leep's fourth three-pointer of the game and an acrobatic Jeff Day tip-in off of a Barnard miss kept Huskies within striking distance for a while.

UTEP was on the verge of pulling away after back-to-back Husky turnovers and missed free-throws by Doug Wrenn and David Dixon. However at the 6:30 mark Barnard connected on a baseline fade-away to pull the Huskies back within seven at 62-55. A Miner turnover followed and it looked like the Huskies would pull back into the game but David Dixon missed a wide open slam dunk. The big guy from Texas was just one of eight from the field for the game. The Miners used a blocked shot and transition basket following Dixon's miss to jump back out on top by 11 at 66-55.

Point guard Curtis Allen fouled out of the game at the 4:52 mark and had just two points in a very difficult start to the road trip. His backcourt mate, Erroll Knight, had just two points after posting a goose egg against San Diego.

A Doug Wrenn follow of a Leep miss reduced the Miner lead to nine with just under 4:00 remaining. It was the last time the Huskies would be close, as UTEP did a nice job of grabbing defensive boards off of Husky misses.

Josh Barnard was three of three in the first half from behind the three-point arc but cooled off and missed all four of his attempts in the second half. He had just two second half points.

Grant Leep finished with career highs of 18 points and eight rebounds for the game. Doug Wrenn had a team-high 19 points but went just seven of 17 from the field and only three of eight from the foul line.

For the game Washington shot just 36% from the field, making it the first time they had not out-shot their opponents this season. It was their worst offensive performance of the year.

Washington will travel one hour to the northwest and take on the Aggies in New Mexico State on Saturday.

UTEP, who went 16-2 at home last year, is currently on a nine-game home winning streak. Tonight's win breaks a four-game losing skid, all coming on the road.
Husky Scorers: Wrenn 19, Leep 18, Barnard 13, Dixon 4, Allen 2, Massingale 2, Day 2, Conroy 0-4, Knight 2.

Husky Rebounds: Leep 8, Wrenn 10.

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