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Denver (6-6) at Texas-El Paso (9-5)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 29, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Don Haskins Center (12,222) -- El Paso, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: Denver 3-2, UTEP 7-2. Away Record: Denver 2-2, UTEP 0-0. Neutral Record: Denver 1-2, UTEP 1-1. Conference Record: Denver 0-0, UTEP 1-2. Series Record: Texas-El Paso leads, 3-1.

GAME NOTES: The Sun Belt Invitational comes to a close on Sunday night, as the Texas-El Paso Miners square off with the Denver Pioneers at the Don Haskins Center.

Denver has experienced an up-and-down season en route to a 6-6 record, although it has been on the rise of late with wins in four of its last five games. The Pioneers opened up tournament play on Saturday night by making easy work of Alcorn State, 67-49.

UTEP began its weekend with an impressive 67-64 victory over Western Illinois, giving it a season-high four straight wins. The season has been a success for the Miners thus far, the team posting a 9-5 overall record, which includes a 7-2 mark at home.

UTEP holds a 3-1 lead in the all-time series with Denver, although the two teams haven't met since the 1960s.

The Pioneers built a 20-point halftime lead over Alcorn State in Saturday's opening round and cruised down the stretch, never allowing their advantage to dip into single digits. They shot 48.1 percent from the field in the triumph, including 9-of-24 from beyond the arc, while they held their opponent without a 3-point field goal. Brett Olson led the way with 16 points while also handing out six assists against only one turnover. Chris Udofia brought 15 points to the table and stuffed the stat sheet elsewhere with five rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.

On the season, Denver has a less-than-stellar offensive attack, scoring 65.8 ppg on less than 44 percent shooting, while allowing its opponents to shoot greater than 49 percent from the floor. It is able to even the playing field by making more than eight 3-pointers per contest, and by boasting a +2.5 turnover margin. Brett Olson is the offensive catalyst, scoring 15.2 ppg, while Chris Udofia (13.1 ppg) is a multi-talented forward, sporting 5.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.8 blocks per outing.

The Miners appeared down for the count late in their opening-round contest, as they trailed WIU by 10 points with less than five minutes to play, but they ended the contest on a 17-6 run, with Vince Hunter's jumper with 43 seconds remaining proving to be the game-winner. They shot a meager 34.6 percent from the field on the evening, but managed to make up for it by outrebounding the Leathernecks, 39-30, and piecing together a 29-of-39 showing at the foul line. Julian Washburn led the way with 18 points. John Bohannon tallied a double- double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Hunter added 14 points and nine boards.

UTEP has played very well at both ends of the floor this season, outshooting its opponents, 45.7 percent to 38.3 percent, on its way to a +4.8 scoring margin, although its lack of prowess from 3-point range (4.6 makes per game at 34.6 percent) has hindered it at times. McKenzie Moore (13.1 ppg) is the club's leading scorer, but he missed Saturday's game. Washburn scores 11.9 ppg, while Hunter (10.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and Bohannon (9.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg) are regular contributors in the paint.

Although both teams are coming off solid wins in the opening round and have been playing some of its best basketball of late, UTEP has shown to be the more impressive team and will have the advantage to close out its tournament in style and improve upon its solid home record.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas El-Paso 75, Denver 70

12/29 10:33:25 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
Final
NYY 5
TOR 2
Final
MIA 1
WAS 2
Final
BAL 2
BOS 3
Final
PIT 1
MIL 0
Final
ATL 2
NYM 10
Final
TAM 5
CWS 10
Final
MIN 2
CLE 7
Final
KAN 5
DET 2
Final
HOU 8
SEA 3
Final
CHC 5
LOS 8
Final
ANA 1
TEX 2
Final
OAK 8
PHI 6
Final
COL 8
ARI 3
Final
SDP 8
SFG 2
Final
STL 2
CIN 7
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
CAR 3
CLB 4
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WAS 1
BUF 0
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CLB 4
STL 3
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EDM 3
CAL 1
Final
CAL 1
EDM 0
1:30pm Today
NYI
OTT
 
6:00pm Tonight
NYI
OTT
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
DET
 
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NYR
NJD
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
TOR
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
WAS
 
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
MIN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
STL
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
ANA
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
COL
 
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ARI
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10:30pm Tonight
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ARI
 
Final
CLE 21
BAL 23
Final
STL 31
DAL 34
Final
DET 19
GBP 7
Final
NYG 30
HOU 17
Final
JAC 17
IND 44
Final
NOS 20
MIN 9
Final
NEP 16
OAK 9
Final
BUF 10
SDC 22
Final
CIN 33
TEN 7
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PHI 37
WAS 34
Final
ARI 23
SFX 14
Final
SEA 26
DEN 20
Final
MIA 15
KAN 34
Final
CAR 19
PIT 37
8:30pm Tonight
NYJ
CHI