EL PASO, Texas - Marshall came up empty in its two-game trip to Texas, as Texas-El Paso blitzed the Thundering Herd early in the second half before settling for a 66-56 victory Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center.
The teams were tied at 27 after a lackluster first half, but the Miners awoke to blow the Herd away in the first 81/2 minutes of the second half. UTEP scored the first 10 points, part of a 21-4 run to the 11:36 mark.
The Herd (6-11, 0-2 Conference USA) trailed 51-33 with 10:44 left but rallied to within 54-47 at the 6:27 mark and 60-55 with 1:37 left on a Chris Thomas layup. But with the Miners scoring a few key baskets, including Vince Hunter's layup at the 1:05 mark, the Herd didn't have a chance to tie or take the lead.
"I thought the first five minutes of the second half we really lost tempo at both ends of the floor," said MU coach Tom Herrion. "The zone was really good to us, and they made a couple of adjustments and hit a few shots to break it open."
The most notable example of UTEP's size advantage was 6-foot-11 John Bohannon, who scored 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds with seven assists. The Miners held a 42-34 margin in rebounding.
Vince Hunter led UTEP (11-6, 1-1) with 20 points, with Julian Washburn scoring 17. The Miners shot 46.8 percent for the contest, impressive considering they only managed 37.5 percent in the first half.
Ryan Taylor led the Herd with 18 points, with Chris Thomas adding 13 and their teammates not adding much. The Herd's 37 percent shooting in the first half plunged to 30 percent before finishing 31.6. Its first-half free-throw shooting was 3 of 10, denying a chance at a halftime lead. Still, neither team led by more than three to that point.
It took just 1:13 of the second half for the Miners to top that, as Washburn started with a jumper and 3-pointer for a 32-27 lead. With the Herd starting 1 of 12 with three turnovers, that lead piled up quickly.
Marshall returns to Cam Henderson Center next week, taking on North Texas at 7 p.m. Thursday and Tulsa at noon Saturday.