TULSA — Tulsa forced UTEP to shoot 31 percent from the field to earn a 45-42 Conference USA victory in front of 4,333 fans at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on Wednesday. The Golden Hurricane improved to 11-7 on the season and 3-1 in C-USA play, while the Miners dropped to 9-7 and 2-1.
Senior Kauri Black led Tulsa with a season-high 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting. He also chipped in five rebounds to pace the Hurricane. Freshman James Woodard added 10 points.
Freshman Zeldric King was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field and tallied seven points. Tulsa out-rebounded UTEP 35-33 and shot 40 percent from the field.
The Hurricane has won four of its past five contests, and its past five tilts at the Reynolds Center.
Tulsa took a 21-20 lead heading into intermission. The Miners opened the second frame with a 10-5 run to take a 30-26 advantage with 10:55 to go. The Hurricane stormed back with a 9-0 run which was capped off with a Rashad Ray jumper to give TU a 35-30 advantage with 6:06 left in regulation.
After a free throw by UTEP, Pat Swilling, Jr. scored his only points of the game with a three-pointer at the 5:03 mark to give TU a 38-31 lead, its largest of the contest. The Miners answered by scoring nine of the next 13 points to make it a 42-40 game with 32 seconds left.
Tulsa responded with an acrobatic layup by King and a free throw that put Tulsa up 45-40 with 20 seconds remaining. The Miners had a chance to force the game into overtime after a Tulsa turnover with four seconds to go, but a three-pointer by UTEP's Konner Tucker went wide to give the Hurricane the victory.
UTEP opened the game by taking an 11-6 advantage, but Tulsa came back with a 12-2 run keyed by four points apiece by Black and Woodard to take an 18-13 lead. The Miners countered with a 5-0 run to knot the game at 18 apiece, but a free throw and a fast break dunk by freshman Shaquille Harrison propelled TU to a 21-20 lead heading into halftime. Woodard paced the Hurricane with seven points, while Black and Harrison tallied five first-half points.