Julian Washburn led six UTEP players in double figures with 20 points and the Miners defeated Houston 80-69 on Thursday in the Conference USA tournament quarterfinals.
UTEP (18-13), the No. 3 seed, will play second-seeded Southern Mississippi, an 81-66 winner over UAB, in Friday's first semifinal.
Jacques Streeter had 13 points and 12 assists for the Miners. Konner Tucker scored 12 points, McKenzie Moore scored 11 — all in the second half — and Cedrick Lang and C.J. Cooper had 10 points apiece.
The Cougars (19-12) only led once, at 16-15, but stayed close until UTEP took a 60-50 lead with 7 minutes to play.
TaShawn Thomas led Houston with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Danuel House scored 12 and J.J. Thompson scored 11 for the sixth-seeded Cougars, who beat Rice in Wednesday's first round.