Johnny Melvin had 21 points and Roy Howard scored a key basket late in the game as Texas-El Paso beat Houston 67-61 Friday night in the first round of the NIT.
The Miners' next opponent will be Georgetown, which advanced by beating Arizona State 78-68 Tuesday night. Houston, which was angered at being left out of the NCAA tournament, ended its season 21-9.UTEP overcame a 23-4 run by the Cougars that began with 16:20 left in the second half on a 3-pointer by David Diaz. The Miners battled back to take a 56-55 lead on a jumper by Eddie Rivera, who finished with 12 points.
The lead changed hands four more times during the next two minutes before a basket by Houston's Derrick Smith tied it at 61-61. Then Howard's basket off an offensive rebound put the Miners up for good.
Charles Outlaw, who led Houston with 15 points, missed four straight free throws down the stretch and the Cougars never could catch up.