Lee Moore scored 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half as UTEP coasted to a 72-54 victory over Florida A&M on Tuesday at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners have started 4-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1987-88 and 1988-89. UTEP has held its first four opponents under 40 percent shooting for the first time since the 1973-74 season as the Rattlers (2-3) converted 34.5 percent of their attempts on Tuesday.
The 1973-74 squad, which limited opponents to 38.1 percent accuracy on the year, opened the season by holding seven straight foes under 40 percent.
On Tuesday, the Miners built a big lead early before overcoming a second half in which they committed 18 of their 21 turnovers.
“I thought it was a very sloppy game on our part, and the first half wasn’t,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “Really poor job of getting into play offensively and defensively [in the second half]. I thought the game became about ‘Let me see how many points I can get by trying to steal everything.’ It was very, very ugly basketball in the second half and it’s got to be better. We don’t practice that way, but for some reason something kicked in for the second half that wasn’t real pretty. Agenda wise, points wise, me getting mine, whatever it was, but I didn’t like it.”
After the teams played to a 2-2 tie in the first 30 seconds, the Miners went on a 12-0 run to surge to a 14-2 lead. Hooper Vint (six points) and Moore (five) accounted for 11 of the 12 points in the spurt.
UTEP continued to pour it on as Moore made 5-of-6 shots, 3-of-4 three pointers and both free throw tries in the opening 20 minutes.
The lead hit 20 (36-16) when Paul Thomas made a free throw with 4:30 remaining in the half. The Miners were ahead 48-24 at the midway point.
Florida A&M scored 15 points off turnovers in the second half and whittled a 31-point deficit down to 14 (68-54) when Justin Ravenal buried a three-pointer with 3:30 remaining. But the Rattlers didn’t score again and UTEP closed it out with two buckets by Earvin Morris.
Morris scored nine of his 12 points in the second half. Terry Winn scored in double figures for the first time as a Miner (12 points) and was responsible for 10 of UTEP’s 17 free throw attempts. Hooper Vint tallied 10 points and a career-high nine boards, narrowly missing recording his first collegiate double-double.
Christian Romine was pulled from redshirt status and posted four points and a rebound, all in the first half.
UTEP outrebounded Florida A&M 38-33. Vint, Thomas (seven rebounds) and Morris (six rebounds) were the main factors on the glass.
After the game, Floyd provided updates on the Miners’ missing players.
“Brodricks Jones will have surgery tomorrow,” he said. “The positive is that it’s a meniscus and not cartilage. We don’t know the extent of the meniscus tear at this point. It can be as little as three and a half to four weeks, or as much as three months [recovery time] depending on what they find when they go in there. In Matt [Willms’] case, he is going to have surgery on his foot and he will be finished for this year. It’s an eight-month recovery on a very difficult surgery. We’ll just hope for the best with him. Tevin Caldwell is going through concussion protocol right now and is basically day-to-day. He has to clear some different levels before he’s allowed to come back and play with us, and we’ll hope for the best there. We could’ve used his energy tonight in that second half. He’s a guy that’s always trying to do what you’re asking him to do and not get outside of it. We’ll look forward to his return whenever that is. No updates on Josh McSwiggan. His appeal was filed today and we’ll hope for the best on that.”
The Miners will depart for Corpus Christi on Wednesday and play two games at the American Bank Center this weekend. UTEP will take on Southern Illinois on Friday (Nov. 27) at 1:30 p.m. MT, and either Colorado State or Portland on Saturday (Nov. 28) at 3 p.m. MT. Both games in Corpus Christi will be televised on the American Sports Network.
Southern Illinois topped Oakland 97-88 on Tuesday night to move to 5-0 on the year. Friday’s UTEP-Southern Illinois game will be the only one in college basketball that day matching two undefeated teams.
Author: UTEP Athletics