Southern Illinois 68, UTEP 62
LAS VEGAS (AP)—Stetson Hairston scored 16 points to lead Southern Illinois past UTEP 68-62 in the championship game of the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational Tournament Saturday night.
Darren Brooks, who won the tournament’s Most Valuable Player Award, had 14 points for Southern Illinois (4-0), including a 5-for-5 performance from the free-throw line.
LaMar Owen added 11 points for the Salukis.
After the lead changed hands five times, Southern Illinois went ahead for good 50-49 on two Brooks free throws with 7:41 left.
The Miners cut the lead to one point three different times, the last at 56-55 with 2:41 left before Southern Illinois later pulled away late, going 8-of-8 from the foul line in the final 1:03.
Omar Thomas had a game-high 18 points for UTEP (3-1) before fouling out in the final minute. Thomas played with four fouls for the final 7:41. Filiberto Rivera had 15 points and Jason Williams added 10 for the Miners.
The Salukis went 15-for-17 from the foul line for 88.2 percent, including a 7-for-8 performance from Hairston.
In the first half, the Miners jumped to two six-point leads, the last at 19-13 with 10:38 left in the half before the Salukis went on an 18-4 run that ended with 3:59 left in the first half.
Southern Illinois led 39-33 at halftime.