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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
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CIN 7
CHC 2
Final
DET 3
NYY 2
Final
SFG 4
COL 1
Final
BAL 5
TAM 4
Final
NYM 1
ATL 6
Final
CWS 2
CLE 3
Final
KAN 5
MIN 11
Final
HOU 4
TEX 2
Final
ANA 4
OAK 3
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
MIN
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
BOS
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
PHI
 
7:35pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
DET
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
TEX
 
8:15pm Tonight
STL
CHC
 
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
COL
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
LOS
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
WAS
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
 
Final
SCAR 28
TEXAM 52
Final
LAMON 17
WAKE 10
Final
MISS 35
BSU 13
Final
TULSA 38
TULA 31
Final
WASU 38
RUTG 41
Final
ARST 45
WEBER 14
Final
VANDY 7
TEMPL 37
7:00pm Tonight
UCONN
BYU
7:30pm Tonight
WKENT
BGU
7:30pm Tonight
MSU
JVST
9:00pm Tonight
COL
COLST
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
TXSANANTO
10:30pm Tonight
ARZ
UNLV
Final
JAC 14
ATL 24
 
Final
BUF 0
DET 23
 
Final
CIN 35
IND 7
 
Final
GBP 34
KAN 14
 
Final
PHI 37
NYJ 7
 
Final
MIA 14
STL 13
 
Final
PIT 0
CAR 10
 
Final
NYG 16
NEP 13
 
Final
TAM 10
WAS 24
 
Final
NOS 13
BAL 22
 
Final
CLE 33
CHI 13
 
Final
DAL 3
DEN 27
 
Final
TEN 3
MIN 19
 
Final
HOU 13
SFX 40
 
Final
SDC 12
ARI 9
 
Final
OAK 41
SEA 31
 
Final
NOR 3
DUR 5
 
5:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
7:35pm Tonight
NOR
DUR