EL PASO, Texas – Vince Hunter scored 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in Friday's season opener and UTEP beat Washington state 65-52, ruining coach Ernie Kent's return to the court.
Kent was away from college basketball the past four years after stints as head coach at St. Mary's and Oregon.
Earvin Morris scored 13 for the Miners, including two 3-pointers, and C.J. Cooper added 11 points and five assists.
DaVonte Lacy led the Cougars with 15 points and seven rebounds, Que Johnson scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Ike Iroegbu added 10 points.
After cutting what had been a double-figure UTEP lead to just six, 32-26, at halftime, the Cougars spent most of the second half trying to stay with the Miners.
UTEP was too strong at both ends of the court and led by double figures all but a few moments of the game's final 7 minutes.