El Paso, TX (Sports Network) - C.J. Cooper led a balanced attack with 14 points to carry the Texas-El Paso Miners to a 65-53 win over the Rice Owls in a Conference USA bout at the Don Haskins Center.
John Bohannon had 11 points off the bench for UTEP (13-8, 6-2 C-USA) while Julian Washburn scored 10 points and Jacques Streeter and McKenzie Moore combined for 15 assists.
Tamir Jackson paced Rice (5-17, 1-7) with 12 points as the Owls dropped their third game in their last four tries. Max Guercy and Austin Ramljak chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
UTEP shot 53.8 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes and held Rice to 2-of-9 from long range. The Miners scored 22 points in the paint and led by as many as 16 before taking a 35-21 lead into halftime.
Rice managed to cut the deficit to 48-40 on a Keith Washington 3-point shot, but UTEP responded with a Cooper triple on the other end. Two more outside shots by Cooper moments later allowed the Miners to cruise to the win.
UTEP won the bench scoring battle, 33-10, and improved to 15-11 all-time against Rice.