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UTEP dumps FIU 90-76 behind efficient Willms


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MIAMI (AP) — Matt Willms scored 23 points, shooting 10 for 13, and Dominic Artis was 7 for 11 and scored 21 points to lead UTEP past Florida International 90-76 on Saturday.

Cameron Smith's layup with 7:22 left before halftime brought the Golden Panthers to within 25-24, but UTEP (13-15, 11-5 Conference USA) went on a 16-6 run and led by 11 (41-30) at intermission.

Florida International (6-23, 2-14) cut the deficit to seven on three occasions after halftime but couldn't get closer. Omega Harris scored 19 points, Paul Thomas 15, and Trey Touchet 12.

Donte McGill led FIU with 18 points, Eric Lockett and Eric Nottage each scored 14 and Elmo Stephen 11.

With its season-high fifth straight victory, the Miners remain in a third-place tie with Old Dominion (18-10, 11-5). The top four teams in the conference remain will earn a bye to the league tournament March 8-11 in Birmingham, Alabama.

UTEP now has double-digit wins in conference for its sixth consecutive season and for the ninth time in 10 years.

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