Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
February 15, 2009EL PASO - The dynamic duo of Stefon Jackson and Randy Culpepper struck again. Jackson scored 35 points, 20 coming from the foul line, while Culpepper had 8 points, six steals and two break-away dunks as UTEP defeated Marshall 74-67 at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners (15-9, 6-4 C-USA), whose play on offense and defense has been up and down more times than a yo-yo this season, opened the game against the Thundering Herd leading 9-2.
But the advantage was short lived when Marshall cut into that lead throughout the first stanza and trailed 32-25 at the half.
Jackson led all scorers with a rather quiet 14 points at the break, accounting for 43 percent of the Miners offense.
Sophomore Gabriel McCulley, who had arthroscopic surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee, made his triumphant return to the court by playing 19 solid minutes.
"Tonight was about him getting into the flow, getting him knocked around and into game speed," said head coach Tony Barbee. "You could tell his timing was a bit off, but Gabe gave us great effort."
The second half began much like the first, with UTEP trying to keep Marshall at bay. The Thundering Herd (11-14, 3-7 C-USA) made key stops and the Miners offense became stagnant, which allowed the lead to dwindle.
But it would not get closer than a 2-point margin with less than 40 seconds left in the game. Jackson hit a clutch jump shot to spread the lead to four with 34 seconds remaining, but the play of the game followed on the ensuing inbound pass in which Culpepper stole the ball from Tirrell Baines of the Thundering Herd.
"Randy shot the gap Randy does that very well because he is quick as a cat, he has a great basketball instinct to play those passing lanes and get steals, with that steal he sealed the victory," Barbee said.
After letting the clock drain, Marshall fouled Jackson who made four consecutive free throws to send the crowd home happy.
The Miners kept the Herd shooting 35.4 percent from the field, while the Miners shot 47.8 percent.
Jackson was perfect on the night from the foul line, making 20 out of his 20 free throw attempts, a personal best.
"Just for me to get to the foul line that much is accomplishment," Jackson said. "A lot of teams are fouling me hard this season and getting physical I will get to the line a lot, it's my job to just knock them (foul shots) down."
The Miners will travel to Houston Wednesday to play against the Rice Owls (8-16, 3-7 C-USA) at Tudor Fieldhouse. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. MST.
Eddie Delgado is a staff writer for MinerDigs.net. He can be reached at email@example.com.