SMU men's basketball falls to UTEP Miners 67-57 to end their five game win streak
Published: Monday, February 14, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
SMU's five-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night following a 67-57 loss to the University of Texas at El Paso.
Needing to win to break into the top spot in Conference USA standings, the Mustangs (15-9, 6-4 C-USA) led the game at the half, but failed to hit a shot in the final three minutes, keeping the Miners (19-5, 7-2 C-USA) as the leading team in league play.
The Mustangs controlled the game in the first half, going up by nine points with seven minutes left before ending the half up by four. Freshman Jeremiah Samarrippas scored 11 of his 12 points in the first half, including three shots from the behind the arc.
"I'm mad because we should have won this game at UTEP where in the last few years I was happy we had a close effort and it was somewhat of a moral victory," Head Coach Matt Doherty said.
SMU clung to the lead through the majority of the second half, but a three-pointer from UTEP's Julyan Stone put the home team 55-52, as the Mustangs were rendered nearly scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Stone's bucket sparked an 11-2 run from the Miners, as they turned a 50-46 deficit into a 57-52 lead. SMU, the leading team in C-USA for field goal percentage and three-point percentage, was held to just 8-of-20 from the field and 22 percent in three's in the second half.
A lay up by Collin Mangrum put SMU within 61-57 with 2:53 remaining, but none of the visiting team's shots were successful. UTEP sealed their 14th consecutive win at home with four free throws by Randy Culpepper.
After SMU ended the first half shooting 53 percent and going 5-for-12 in three's, UTEP's defense quickly shut down SMU's offense, holding the Mustangs to only 21 points on 8-for-20 shooting in the final 20 minutes.
"There's no more moral victories at SMU," Doherty said. "We came here to win this basketball game, I'm very disappointed we didn't execute better."
UTEP's defense, led by Stone, managed to hold SMU's Robert Nyakundi, who averaged 16 points per game, to only one field goal and four points.
Papa Dia had one of his better nights, scoring 18 points and adding 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. Mangrum added 12 points and career-high eight rebounds, while Samarrippas, also with 12 points, reached double-digits for the fourth time in the past five games.
UTEP's Christian Polk scored a team-high 18 points while Culpepper added 14, as UTEP finished the night shooting 50 percent from the field and out-rebounding the Mustangs 26-25.
SMU now sits in a two-way tie for fifth place with the University of Tulsa.