TULSA, Okla. – University of Houston sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas posted 15 points and 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double at the Conference USA Championship, but it would not be enough as No. 3 seed UTEP claimed an 80-69 win in the Quarterfinals inside the BOK Center.
Thomas, who finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the First-Round matchup against Rice on Wednesday, connected on 6-of-10 shots from the field on the way to his team-leading 14th double-double of the season and the 23rd of his career.
Leading 32-27 at halftime, the Cougars overcame a 7-point deficit early in the second half and moved to within 41-39 when junior guard Tione Womack converted an and-1 with 15:13 left in the game.
However, the Miners scored the game’s next nine points and grabbed a 50-39 lead on a John Bohannon dunk with 12:33 left. The Cougars continued to chip away at the deficit, but the Miners had an answer with each rally. After the Cougars pulled to within 58-50 on freshman forward Danuel House’s free throw, UTEP went on a 9-2 run to seize control of the game.
House, the 2013 C-USA Freshman of the Year, posted 12 points with two rebounds, while sophomore point guard J.J. Thompson came off the bench to pour in 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in only six minutes to lead the Cougars. Making his ninth straight start, Womack continued his stellar play at point guard for the Cougars, dishing out a team-high six assists with only one turnover in 28 minutes.
UTEP used a balanced offensive attack that saw six player score in double digits. Julian Washburn led all players with 20 points, while Jacques Streeter totaled 13 points with four rebounds and a game-high 12 assists. Konner Tucker connected for 12 points with a pair of 3-pointers, while McKenzie Moore added 11 points with seven free throws. Cedrick Lang and C.J. Cooper posted 10 points apiece for the Miners.
The Cougars will learn their postseason fate on Sunday night.