BOCA RATON, Fla. – Jazion Jackson scored a career-high 26 points as UTEP earned a split in its trip to the Sunshine State with a 79-78 overtime win at Florida Atlantic on Saturday afternoon.
Jackson had a monster game for the Miners (13-5, 6-3 C-USA), going 11-of-21 from the floor with four steals and three assists.
Trailing 75-73 in the extra period, it was Jackson who dialed up a 3-pointer with 1:08 on the clock to put the visitors up for good, as free throws down the stretch by Adhel Tac and Elina Arike would ice the game.
FAU (11-7, 4-5 C-USA) provided a major scare though on what would prove to be the final offensive possession of the game for the Owls, with Joiya Maddox drawing a foul on a 3-point shot with her team down 79-76. She would not convert on the opportunity however, missing the first free throw before making the final two. UTEP was able to dribble it out following the inbounds play, ending the FAU chances.
“I thought our team showed just tremendous courage on the road,” UTEP Head Coach Kevin Baker said. “The odds were stacked against us the whole day, but we just continued to battle when the odds were against us, and they showed just how relentless they are. FAU has got a great ball club. For us to be able to come in here on a Saturday afternoon and beat them is really good for our program.”
Neither team held a double-digit lead in the game, a contest that featured 10 ties.
A layup by Tac with 57 seconds remaining in regulation tied things at 69, with both sides not scoring the rest of the way to force overtime.
One of the key stretches came early in the third quarter with the Miners trailing by nine.
During what turned into a 10-0 run that put UTEP up 47-46, Jackson scored eight of the 10 points. Her drive to the basket that saw her get fouled with 5:36 left resulted in a 3-point play to take the lead.
UTEP initially took the advantage early in the game before having to fight for it back throughout much of the day.
The Miners had raced out to a 10-2 lead at the onset of the game, but the Owls slowly worked their way back into it, cutting the eight-point deficit down to three at 21-18 at the end of the first.
In the second, UTEP started strong, extending the advantage to six following back-to-back 3-pointers by Jackson and Erin Wilson.
Shortly after the shots from distance, the Owls started to claw their way back, erasing the deficit and taking a lead of their own at 37-32 thanks to a 14-3 run.
Grace Alvarez ended the stretch with a 3-pointer off the bench.
FAU took a 41-35 lead into the locker room.
The Miners battled foul trouble throughout, as Wilson and Avery Crouse would both foul out, while Arike played with four fouls from the 8:34 mark of the fourth on.
Making her first start of the season, Wilson tallied a season-high 15 points with five rebounds.
Crouse also set multiple high marks, contributing her first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. She approached a triple-double with a career-high eight assists. Her four steals tied a personal best.
Tac finished with 10 points and seven boards.
Jackson served as the primary point guard for much of the game in the absence of N’Yah Boyd.
“Our team takes things like that in such stride,” Baker said. “They all know it’s a big deal, but at the same time they just go out and battle, fight, defend, and rebound and just do all the things that good basketball teams do.”
UTEP is back in action on Saturday, Jan. 28 in the Don Haskins Center to host North Texas on 915 Day.