HOUSTON -- UTEP maintained its hold on the No. 3 seed in Conference USA with a 67-56 victory over Rice on Saturday.
The Miners (16-12, 9-5 Conference USA) got 10 points each from Julian Washburn, John Bohannon and C.J. Cooper to move closer to securing a first-round bye in the conference tournament. The top five seeds get byes in the opening round.Jacques Streeter added seven assists and Cedrick Lang had 11 rebounds for UTEP, which outrebounded the Owls 42-26.Tamir Jackson had 20 points for Rice (5-23, 1-13), which has lost eight straight. Julian DeBose added 14 points and Max Guercy had 11.The Miners scored 10 straight points to take a 21-13 lead, were up 34-24 at halftime and began the second half with an 18-6 run to build a 52-30 lead with 10:18 remaining.