Julyan Stone scored 23 points and UTEP defeated Rice 59-53 Saturday.
Jeremy Williams added 12 points and Randy Culpepper had 10 for the Miners (18-5, 6-2 Conference USA), who have won 10 of the last 12 meetings with the Owls.
Connor Frizzelle had 13 points, Cory Pflieger 12 and Tamir Jackson 11 for Rice (11-12, 3-6), which shot just 33.3 percent.
UTEP led by 10 in the second half but was clinging to a 52-49 advantage after Pflieger hit a jumper with 3:31 to play. Williams pushed the Miners' lead to five with a dunk before the Owls scored four straight points, all on free throws, to make it 54-53 with 1:47 to play.
Stone then hit two foul shots and blocked a shot by Jackson to help UTEP hold off Rice for its eighth win in 10 games.
After trailing by six in the first half, the Miners took a 27-26 lead into halftime.