David Van Dyke and Marlon Maxey provided the inside muscle and Texas-El Paso's three-guard offense triggered an early second half run that carried the Miners to a 72-54 win Saturday over New Mexico and a share of the Western Athletic Conference title.UTEP (23-5, 12-4) tied Brigham Young for the regular season WAC title. New Mexico (17-11, 11-5) finished third after beginning the day in a three-way deadlock with the Miners and BYU for the league lead.
BYU, which will have the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament, got a piece of the title with an 82-73 win over Utah.
Maxey led five Miners in double figures with 15 points. Van Dyke added 11 points and 12 rebounds - seven of them offensive. Guards Eddie Rivera and Prince Stewart each scored 13 points and reserve Ralph Davis 10.
New Mexico was led by Will Scott with 15 points, but 13 of them came in the first half, when New Mexico's inside offense produced six lead changes and kept the Lobos within 32-29 at halftime. Khari Jaxon scored 14 and Willie Banks 12.
UTEP coach Don Haskins, who ran his career win total to 602 with his seventh WAC title, went with three guards in the second half - replacing forward Johnny Melvin with shooting guard Gym Bice. The move produced immediate results.
The guard trio of Bice, Rivera and Stewart scored 13 of UTEP's first 17 second half points with Bice sinking a 3-pointer with 14:45 left for a 39-33 lead. Maxey hit a hook shot over Jaxon and Prince buried another 3-pointer.
New Mexico's only comeback bid in the second half surfaced briefly on a 3-pointer by Willie Banks that cut the deficit to 44-36, but Prince then hit a 3-pointer and added a layup with 11:30 left to cap the 17-7 run.
The only thing tougher than UTEP's guard-oriented offense in the second half was the Miners' man-defense, which held New Mexico to a season-low 24 percent, as the Lobos hit just 8 of 33 shots.
Wyoming 83, Colorado State 65
At Laramie, Wyo., Maurice Alexander scored 21 points and had 10 assists as Wyoming ended its regular season by blowing out archrival Colorado State.
The Western Athletic Conference victory gives the Cowboys (16-12, 8-8 in the WAC) the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament next week. Colorado State (14-16, 8-8) is the seventh seed.
The Rams shot out to an early 14-7 lead behind 8 points from guard Keith Bonds. But Wyoming scored nine unanswered point to take over the lead. Wyoming dominated the boards for the rest of the half, outrebounding the Rams 19-6, for a 35-31 command.
The Cowboys used 3-pointers by Travis Butler, Alexander and Tim Breaux to put them up 45-35 in the first three minutes of the second half.
After a time out, the Rams adjusted their defense. The Cowboys countered by going to Center Brian Rewers, who scored eight straight to push the lead to 53-39 with 13 minutes left.
Wyoming continued the pressure, going on an 18-10 run that featured two crowd-pleasing dunks by Breaux. Wyoming then put it in cruise control for the win.
Breaux scored 15 points, all in the second half. Rewers had a career-high 17 and Slater added 16 points and 14 rebounds.
Aaron Atkinson paced Colorado State with 15. Doug Larson and Bonds added 12 each.