Originally Published: Jan 29, 2011 9:56 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
TULSA, Oklahoma -- With just one second on the clock, University of Texas- El Paso’s Jeremy Williams threw up a desperation shot from behind the arc. As the ball bounced off the rim and time expired, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane realized what they had accomplished. Just seconds before, Justin Hurtt hit his first-ever game winning shot to push his team ahead 69-68.
The Miners had won four in a row against the Golden Hurricane prior to Saturday’s game, including a 10-point win against TU earlier this season. In fact, Tulsa hasn’t notched a win against UTEP since early February of 2009.
The win was necessary for the Golden Hurricane, which hopes to still win the league and needed the confidence boost before traveling to Memphis next.
“We needed it. It’s been a fight,” Wojcik said. “It’s been an uphill battle. It’s huge.”
The Miners entered Saturday’s game with a 5-1 record and were hungry for another.
UTEP held a healthy lead through much of the first half before Tulsa was able to go on a 13-5 run and take a 40-32 lead at halftime. Much of Tulsa’s ability to regain the lead was due to their presence inside the paint. The Golden Hurricane posted 18 points inside the paint, compared to the Miners’ six.
TU’s bench also played a significant role in the halftime score, posting half of the Golden Hurricane’s points.
The Miners quickly recovered in the second half, tying the game at 43 with 15:39 left after Randy Culpepper hit a layup. UTEP briefly gained the lead with Julyan Stone hit a three to bring the score to 46-45.
Hurtt answered back with a layup, regaining the lead for the Golden Hurricane. The Miners again tied to game at 58-58 with just more than 4 minutes left in the game, but Tulsa moved ahead when Jordan Clarkson hit a layup. TU refused to relinquish the lead again.
Steven Idlet, who was held to just two points in TU’s game against Southern Methodist, was again held to single-figures, but did manage to grab six boards. He finished with seven points, while Hurtt ended the game with 18 points. Clarkson recorded 14 and D.J. Magley had a huge game, adding 10 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
UTEP’s Culpepper led all scorers with 28 points, while Stone finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Christian Polk added 19 points and three assists.
The Golden Hurricane travels to Memphis to face the Tigers Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.