UTEP stops Clemson 61-48 in Diamond Head ClassicClemson's K.J. McDaniels goes up for a dunk against UTEP during the first half of the NCAA college basketball game at the Stan Sheriff Center Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
HONOLULU (AP) Michael Perez scored a career-high 25 points to lead UTEP to a 61-48 victory over Clemson in an opening-round game of the Diamond Head Classic on Thursday.
The Miners (5-5) also got 11 points from C.J. Cooper in winning their third straight.
K.J. McDaniels scored 13 points and Milton Jennings 10 to lead the Tigers (6-5).
UTEP advances to Friday's semifinals, and Clemson will be in the consolation round.
UTEP shot 51 percent, made 7 of 20 3-pointers and sank 10 of 12 free throws.
Clemson shot just 30 percent and committed 11 turnovers to six assists.
The Tigers led 29-24 early in the second half, but UTEP used a 17-11 run capped by Perez's three-point play to seize a 41-40 lead with 12:49 left.
The Miners led by 14 points after a finger roll by Cooper inside the final minute.
The teams were tied 24-24 at halftime.