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UTEP pulls away to beat Arizona State 76-63

UTEP pulls away to beat Arizona State 76-63

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Bryson Williams had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Souley Boum added 18 points and UTEP dominated the second half to beat Arizona State 76-63 Wednesday night.

The Miners opened their desert road trip by keeping Arizona close until the Wildcats stretched the lead in the final three minutes to win 69-61.

UTEP (3-2) appeared to be in trouble against Arizona State after a late run put the Sun Devils up eight at halftime. The Miners picked up the pace to start the second half and picked apart the Sun Devils' pressure defense to pull away.

The Miners made 15 of 30 shots in the second half and held Arizona State (4-3) to two extended scoring droughts to earn their biggest nonconference wins in three seasons under coach Rodney Terry.

The Sun Devils dropped a desert dud in their final game before the Pac-12 season resumes next week.

Arizona State was plagued by too much one-on-one basketball on offense and couldn't slow the Miners on defense in the second half. The Sun Devils went 1 for 18 from the 3-point arc — missing all 11 attempts in the second half — and didn't score over the final 5:34.

Josh Christopher led Arizona State with 24 points.

The Sun Devils were dominated in the paint in a lopsided loss to No. 18 San Diego State last week, so being better inside inside became a priority.

Arizona State established Jalen Graham in the paint early — nine points in six minutes — and Christopher took over after that, scoring 13 first-half points. Arizona State had 26 points in the paint, using a closing 10-2 run to lead 41-33.

UTEP shot decently (14 of 30) in the first half, but had 10 turnovers that led to 11 points for Arizona State.

The Miners, sparked by Boum, opened the second half with a 13-2 run. Boum had nine points, hitting consecutive 3-poitners and three free throws after being fouled on another attempt from the arc.

UTEP kept making shots and shut down Arizona State — more than five minutes without a field goal — to push the lead to 66-56 with eight minutes left.

Arizona State used its defense to spark its offense while cutting the lead to five, but UTEP answered with a 8-0 run to go up 76-63 with 2 1/2 minutes left.

The Miners kept the lead in place by breaking Arizona State's pressure and holding the Sun Devils to 1-of-10 shooting to close the game.

BIG PICTURE

UTEP faded late against Arizona, but backed it up with its best nonconference win of the season.

Arizona State fell flat in the second half to lose to a team picked to finish ninth in Conference USA — not what it wanted just before the bulk of the Pac-12 season starts.

UP NEXT

UTEP hosts Benedictine University at Mesa on Sunday.

Arizona State resumes its Pac-12 schedule against Utah on Tuesday.

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Updated : 2021-01-28 07:23 GMT+08:00