Hardy 3-pointer lifts UTEP over Cal 75-72 at SoCal Challenge
Tue, Nov 21, 2023
NCAAB News (AP)
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (AP) - Jalen Cone sank a game-tying 3-pointer for California with 16 seconds remaining, but Tae Hardy answered from beyond the arc to rally UTEP to a 75-72 victory over the Golden Bears at the SoCal Challenge on Monday night.
Hardy's shot sends unbeaten UTEP (5-0) to the Sand Division title game of the Challenge where the Miners will play Bradley on Wednesday. The Golden Bears (2-3) will play Tulane in the consolation nightcap.
California's first basket didn't come until the game was four minutes old, but Rodney Brown Jr.'s 3-pointer gave the Golden Bears a 19-12 lead with 11:50 left before halftime. UTEP chipped away until Corey Camper Jr.'s 3-pointer put the Miners up 24-21 at the 8-minute mark. UTEP led the rest of the half, taking a 40-35 lead into intermission.
The Golden Bears scored the first six points of the second half to grab the lead. UTEP battled back into the lead and two free throws by Hardy left the Miners with a 71-63 lead with 4:20 left to play. Cone hit two free throws with 50 seconds to go before he nailed his game-tying 3-pointer.
Hardy led the Miners with 16 points. Zid Powell had 13 points, six rebounds and four steals. Calvin Solomon scored 13 before foulding out. Corey Camper Jr. added 11 points off the bench, while Otis Frazier III scored 10.
Fardaws Aimaq finished with 18 points on 9-for-13 shooting with 11 rebounds before fouling out for the Golden Bears. Cone and Jaylon Tyson added 15 points apiece.
There were 63 free throws attempted in the first meeting between the schools. UTEP made 30 of 37, while Cal hit 20 of 26.
Cal's first-year coach Mark Madsen led Utah Valley to the Sand Division title of the SoCal Challenge in 2021, defeating Nicholls 74-63 in the championship game.
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