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March 25, 2009

Miners defeat Spiders 81-69, advance to CBI championship

UTEP is in the best-of-three CBI Championship Series, and the Miners will host game two and game three if necessary.

The Miners (22-12) won at Richmond, 81-69, in the tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday and will face either Oregon State or Stanford in the finals next week. Game 1 will be played on the road Monday, with games 2 and 3 (if necessary) in El Paso on Wednesday and Friday. Tip-off for all three games is 8 p.m. Mountain time, and tickets will go on sale Thursday at 8 a.m. at the University Ticket Center, 747-5234. All tickets are $10 general admission except for floor seats.

Stefon Jackson scored 34 points in UTEP's victory at Richmond on Wednesday. He also set a school record for single-season points with 837, breaking All-American Jim Barnes' mark of 816 points in 1963-64. It was Jackson's 12th straight 20-point game, putting him one game away from tying Barnes' school record of 13 in a row in 1963-64.

UTEP's speed and athleticism gave Richmond (20-16) fits. The Spiders shot 38.1 percent from the field - including 33.3 percent in the second half - and committed 17 turnovers. Richmond's leading scorer, Kevin Anderson, finished with 10 points - nearly seven below his average - and was 4-for-14 from the field.

The Miners didn't trail again after taking a 7-5 lead on a three-pointer by Gabriel McCulley with 15:56 remaining in the first half. After the Spiders' Ryan Butler tied the game with a layup, UTEP went on a 10-2 run to build a 17-9 advantage.

The Miners answered every challenge by the Spiders. A 9-0 run by Richmond sliced a 28-16 UTEP lead down to 28-25, but the Miners closed the first half with a 14-8 spurt to take a 42-33 advantage into the locker room.

After Richmond whittled a 50-39 Miner lead down to 58-56 with eight minutes to play, UTEP scored 10 unanswered points and wasn't threatened again.

The frustration finally got the better of Richmond coach Chris Mooney, who was ejected after picking up his second technical foul with 4:44 left in the game.

Randy Culpepper scored 19 points, Julyan Stone chipped in with 12 and Arnett Moultrie collected 11 rebounds for the Miners.


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