PULLMAN, Wash. -- UTEP coach Tim Floyd had one goal heading into Saturday night's game against Washington State -- stop DaVonte Lacy. His team succeeded and beat the Cougars 64-51.
The Miners held the Cougars' leading scorer to a season-low six points and only one field goal in the opening half as UTEP executed on both ends of the court.
"It was really a great defensive effort from a lot of guys," Floyd said. "They had two of the better guards in the Pac-12 that we were playing against in Woolridge and Lacy, and they were held to five and six (points)."
Solid defense by the Miners held Washington State (6-5) to just 17 first-half points and helped UTEP pull to a quick 12-point lead. UTEP's defense held Cougars' leading scorer DaVonte Lacy and guard Royce Woolridge to just two points each in the half.
"I'm just really, really pleased that we were able to go on the road and hold a team to 34 percent shooting," Floyd said. "I feel like we're sharing the ball really well right now. The ball is moving. I feel like our guys are having fun playing."
The Miners (7-5) led 41-22 at 14:50 mark before Washington State started chip away at the lead. Que Johnson hit four 3-pointers and Lacy converted on a three-point play to help the Cougars cut it to eight (59-51) with 2 minutes on the clock, but they missed their last six shots in the final minute.
"You have to give credit to UTEP, they came out and were ready to go and did a great job of denying DaVonte the ball, and we had prepare for that, but we just didn't make baskets," Washington State coach Ken Bone said.
UTEP drove the ball down the stretch and converted on their free throws. The Miners hit 3 of 4 from the line in the final minute of the game to seal the win. They ended the night 15 of 20, and Washington State went 4 of 11 from the charity stripe for a dismal 36 percent.
Vince Hunter scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting as four players scored in double figures in the win.
Que Johnson scored 19 of his career-high 21 points in the second half and shot 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. The Cougars shot just 33 percent from the field (20 of 50) and converted only eight field goals in the first half.
"I'm just really, really pleased that we were able to go on the road and hold a team to 34 percent shooting," Floyd said. "I feel like we're sharing the ball really well right now."
Saturday's game was only the second road game of the season for UTEP. They return for a six-game homestand.
Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.
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