EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Derrick Caracter scored the final six points for UTEP, including a game-winning dunk with 1 second left that gave the 24th-ranked Miners a 52-50 victory over UAB on Saturday night.
Reserve guard Myron Strong scored 15 points and Caracter had 13 for UTEP (24-5, 15-1 Conference USA), which rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second half.
The Miners held the Blazers (23-7, 11-5) to one field goal in a span of 10:47 while whittling away at the lead. Caracter's two free throws tied it at 48 with 2:46 remaining, and his layup put UTEP ahead 50-48 with 43 seconds to go.
After Aaron Johnson's jumper tied it with 6 seconds left, the Miners called timeout. Julyan Stone then passed to Caracter for the winning dunk.
UTEP players and coaches rushed the court with a second left, prompting UAB coach Mike Davis to argue in vain for a technical foul. Order was restored during a Blazers timeout, but UAB was unable to get off another shot.
Johnson led the Blazers with 16 points and five assists. Elijah Millsap added 12 points and 14 rebounds, but UAB managed only three field goals in the final 17 minutes.
UTEP had already wrapped up the Conference USA regular-season championship and will be the top seed in the league tournament.
The Miners will play the winner of a first-round game between Southern Methodist and Central Florida. UAB faces either Southern Mississippi or Tulane.
Neither squad was particularly accurate from the field. UTEP shot 37.5 percent, while UAB finished at 36 percent.
UAB shut down Randy Culpepper, the Miners' leading scorer this season. Culpepper had only seven points — two in the second half after getting in early foul trouble.