TIGERS HAVE FAST START AT UTEP, BUT MINERS SIZZLE FROM FIELD TO TAKE 91-72 WIN
EL PASO, Texas --- Tennessee State hit its first five shots from the field and led much of the first half, but host Texas-El Paso displayed consistent shooting from the field in both halves on its way to handing the Tigers a 91-72 loss Saturday night in the Don Haskins Center. The game started at a hectic pace. The teams had combined for 35 points just four minutes in the game as TSU lead 18-17. Josh Cooperwood and Brandon Lockridge each hit a pair of 3-pointers during the streak. The lead would exchange hands nine times in the opening half and UTEP carried a 46-44 lead into halftime. In the second half, UTEP would shoot 61 percent from the field while the Tigers were shooting 39 percent. TSU made 8-14 3-pointers in the first half, but just 3-11 in the final 20 minutes. ?We came out and played well at the beginning, but in the second half the basket got real big for them and small for us,? said TSU head coach Nolan Richardson, III. ??They were able to get their heads up and play with confidence. We have to put together a full game and also improve our defense.? The Tigers were able to stay within striking distance, but only netted six points in the final 5:33 of the game. UTEP built its biggest lead of 21 points in the final minute of play. Roshuan Bowens once again led TSU with 23 points, shooting 7-9 field goals. Lockridge hit his first four 3-pointers of the game and finished with 15 points. Cooperwood, who had to sit out due to dehydration during the game, finished with 13 points. Junior guard Garrett Richardson, making the return home to play in front of the home crowd, was limited to one 3-point field goal, but handed out six assists. TSU finished the game shooting 43 percent (27-63) and 64 percent (7-11) from the free throw line. UTEP place all five starters in double figures led by guard Chris Craig. The Miners, who had struggled with their shooting in earlier game, finished 59 percent from the floor and made 7-8 free throws. The Tigers will take a brief break for the holidays before retuning to campus late Christmas Day. TSU will play at Ohio State Dec. 28 and at Kentucky Dec. 30.