The Miners had their hands full against an upstart UT Arlington team that already knocked off Ohio State and Memphis this year, eventually losing Saturday night 76 to 62.
The Mavricks’ (7-2) spacing gave UTEP fits, while the Miners missed on second-chance opportunities, failed to capitalize on uncontested layups and dunk, rebounding and at the free-throw line.
With the Miners coming off their first loss of the season, after falling to rival NM State 73 to 59 on Wednesday, Coach Floyd hoped his team would rebound, both literally and figuratively.
“They got to the on the road, their zone at the start of the second half, we didn’t attack it very well, nor did we make shots out of it,” UTEP head coach, Tim Floyd said. “We did not offensive rebounded very well, that being said, I thought Terry Winn had a fine game. He did a good job, other than that, I think a lot of these guys would like to play a little better and at a higher level.”
The Mavericks took a 5-0 lead to begin the game and would go on a 13-3 run just before the half to keep the five-point lead into the second half.
The Miners’ struggles continued to begin the second half, allowing the Mavericks to take a 47-34 lead. It was then when UTEP would tighten things up on the defensive end and go on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to four.
The Mavericks had a different idea regaining their double-digit lead to pull away for the eventual 14-point win.
“I thought that they were the best screening team that we’ve played against, the best passing team that we’ve played against. Probably had the best player, along with (NMSU’s Pascal) Siakam that we’ve played against,” Floyd said. “I thought that they just did a terrific job with ball movement, showing great poise on the road. It’s obvious that they’ve been at tough places at Ohio State and Memphis…we knew they would not be intimidated in any way coming in here and they weren’t.”
The Miners were outrebounded 41 to 34 by the Mavericks, but it was from behind the arch that the Miners would lose the battle sinking only five of 23 attempts from the three-point line to the Maverick’s nine of 28.
The Miners, now 6-2, will take a week off and prepare to travel to Washington State where they will attempt to break the losing streak.
“Not coming off two losses, maybe a month would be appropriate,” Floyd joked about the time off between now and the next game. “Let’s face it, the team we played is 11th ranked in the RPI, that’s a good basketball team and we’ve got a long way to go. We’re trying to figure out who we are against good teams and it’s not going to get any easier.”