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UTEP slips by Marshall

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Randy Culpepper scored 32 points to lead No. 24 Texas-El Paso to an 80-76 victory over Marshall on Tuesday night, clinching the Miners’ first outright Conference USA championship.

UTEP was ahead 62-51 with 9 minutes remaining but surrendered the lead and needed a strong finish from Derrick Caracter, who scored 10 of his 18 points in the final 5 minutes. His layup with 31 seconds remaining put the Miners ahead 78-76.

Marshall lost the ball out of bounds with 10 seconds remaining and Culpepper completed the scoring with two free throws.

Claude Britten added 14 points for UTEP (23-5, 14-1), which has won 13 straight and broke into the Top 25 on Monday for the first time since February 1992.

Tyler Wilkerson led Marshall (22-8, 10-5) with 22 points and 16 rebounds. Freshman Hassan Whiteside had 20 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots for the Thundering Herd, who saw their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Culpepper is the conference’s third-leading scorer at 18.1 points.