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The Battle of I-10 ,NMSU at UTEP , Don Haskins Center

H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Continue Homestand, Northern Arizona visits Saturday Night

UTEP (2-6) continues its season-long four-game homestand against Northern Arizona (2-9) on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Miners, who lost to NM State (79-68) on the first leg of the homestand Tuesday, will play three games over the next six days leading into the Christmas break.  UTEP will participate in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Dec. 21-22.   Following the Sun Bowl Invitational, the Miners will play four straight road games at NM State (Dec. 30), UTSA (Jan. 1), LA Tech (Jan. 5) and Southern Miss (Jan. 7).

UTEP will go three weeks between home games, from Dec. 22 to Jan. 12.

UTEP is 1-3 at home and has dropped three straight in the Haskins Center.  Northern Arizona is 0-3 on the road with losses to Santa Clara (67-64), Washington (92-58) and UNLV (110-71).  The Miners have lost five consecutive games overall, while NAU is riding a four-game skid.

SERIES HISTORY

–    UTEP is 18-9 versus former Border Conference rival Northern Arizona.
–    The teams haven’t faced one another since the 1961-62 season, which was Don Haskins’ first as the Miners’ head coach.
–    UTEP is 12-1 all-time versus NAU in El Paso and has won four straight over the Lumberjacks in the Sun City.

THE LAST MEETING

–    Willie Brown scored 15 points to lead five Texas Western Miners in double figures as they routed Northern Arizona, 88-55, on Jan. 6, 1962 in El Paso.  The Miners improved to 9-2 under first-year coach Don Haskins.
–    Nolan Richardson added 13 points, Gordon Taylor 12, Bobby Lesley 11 and Ted Sterrett 10 for Texas Western, which led 41-19 at halftime and continued to pour it on in the second period.
–    The Miners made 26-of-34 free throws in the game led by Richardson, who was 7-for-8.  Texas Western shot 43.1 percent to NAU’s 32.1 percent and outrebounded the visitors 54-43.
–    Richardson collected 11 rebounds, Danny Vaughn had nine and Brown eight for the Miners.
–    Northern Arizona was led by George Bearden, who scored 13 points.  Don Buttrum had a double-double with 11 points and 13 boards.

ABOUT NORTHERN ARIZONA

–    Northern Arizona is 2-9 on the season with victories over Benedictine Mesa (92-63) on Nov. 17 and Alabama State (71-57) on Nov. 25.
–    NAU is led by sophomore guard Mike Green (11.3 ppg) and senior forward Jordyn Martin (10.4 ppg), although five Lumberjacks average over eight points per game.
–    Martin is 26th in the NCAA in offensive rebounds per game (3.6) and averages 8.2 caroms per outing.  He has three double-doubles this season, including 20 points/10 rebounds versus Arkansas-Little Rock on Wednesday.
–    Northern Arizona has had its struggles offensively, shooting 35.4 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from three-point range.  NAU’s field goal percentage ranks 344th out of 347 Division I programs.
–    The Lumberjacks have taken 294 three-point shots, 12th-most in the country, and an average of 26.7 attempts per contest.
–    The Lumberjacks have allowed 77.8 points per contest as opponents have connected on 46 percent of their shot attempts.
–    The Lumberjacks put together one of their top performances of the season the last time out against Arkansas-Little Rock.  NAU outrebounded the Trojans 43-28 but was dealt a 72-67 loss.  It was UALR’s ninth victory in 11 games.
–    This is a young Northern Arizona team as 14 of the 18 players on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores.
–    Several Northern Arizona athletic department staff members worked at UTEP previously, including Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos, Senior Associate Athletics Director Darren D’Attilio and Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Sales Todd Wyard.

MINERS IN THE NCAA STATS

–    UTEP was ranked 38th nationally in assists per game (16.8) through the games of Dec 14.
–    Individually, Dominic Artis was third in assists (8.0 apg), 13th in steals (2.6 spg) and 20th in minutes (36.1 avg.).
–    Dominic Artis, Creighton’s Maurice Watson Jr., Providence’s Kyron Cartwright and Stetson’s Angel Rivera are the only players in the country to dish out 12 assists or more in two games this season.  Artis compiled 13 in the opener versus Louisiana College and 12 at New Mexico.

National Assist Leaders (Through Dec. 14)
1.    Maurice Watson Jr. (Creighton)    9.1 apg
2.    Lonzo Ball (UCLA)    8.6 apg
3.    Dominic Artis (UTEP)    8.0 apg
4.    Siyani Chambers (Harvard)    7.9 apg
5.    Kyron Cartwright (Providence)    7.7 apg

ARTIS’ ALL-AROUND SEASON

–    Dominic Artis leads the Miners in rebounding (6.5 rpg), assists (8.0 apg), steals (2.6 spg) and minutes (36.1 mpg), and ranks second in scoring (15.3 ppg).
–    He has led the Miners in scoring three times, rebounds two times, assists eight times and steals seven times in 2016-17.
–    Artis is the only player in the country averaging 15 points, six rebounds and eight assists.
–    Artis and Omaha’s Tra-Deon Hollins (6.5 apg/2.9 spg) are the only players ranked in the top-15 nationally in assists and steals.
–    Artis leads C-USA in assists and steals.  The last Miner to lead the league in assists was Filiberto Rivera in the WAC in 2004-05 (7.2 apg), and the last to lead the conference in steals was Randy Culpepper in 2010-11 (2.03 spg).
–    Since Conference USA’s inception for the 1995-96 season, only one player has led the league in assists and steal average.  That was LA Tech’s Kenneth Smith in 2013-14.
–    Artis’ 8.0 assists per game would shatter the school record of 7.16 per contest, set by Rivera in 2004-05.
–    Artis is the third Miner player to record a pair of 12-assist games in a season, joining Joe Griffin (1989-90) and Rivera (2004-05).  Rivera owns the school standard with three in a campaign.

MORE ON “D.A”

–    Dominic Artis has career totals of 857 points, 329 rebounds, 379 assists and 124 steals in his fourth collegiate season (2012-14 at Oregon, 2015-present at UTEP).  He has appeared in 94 games.
–    He has dished out 234 assists at UTEP including 170 last season, 10th-most in school history.
–    Artis has come close to posting only the second triple-double in school history on several occasions.  Last season’s close calls came versus Loyola (16 points/nine rebounds/eight assists), UTRGV (21 points/eight rebounds/eight assists), LA Tech (23 points/10 rebounds/nine assists) and Florida Atlantic (13 points/nine rebounds/nine assists).  He had eight points/nine rebounds/13 assists in the opener against Louisiana College, 20 points/10 rebounds/nine assists versus Western Michigan.  The only triple-double in Miner history was registered by Jason Williams versus Lipscomb (17 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) in the NIT on March 14, 2006.
–    Artis has scored in double figures in seven consecutive games, a career long streak.
–    Artis has recorded multiple steals in six of eight games this season, including a career-high tying five at New Mexico on Dec. 7.

OMEGA IS THE ALPHA

–    Omega Harris leads UTEP in scoring (16.9 ppg) after collecting 6.7 ppg as a freshman and 12.3 ppg as a sophomore.
–    Harris is a career 43.7 percent (216-for-494) shooter from the field, 39.8 percent (92-for-231) from three and 76.8 percent (109-for-142) from the line.  He has scored 633 points.
–    Harris has scored 20+ points twice in seven games this season.  He had two 20-point games combined in his first two years with the Miners.
–    Dating back to last season, he has scored in double figures 14 times in his last 16 games.

SECOND COMING

–    7’1” Matt Willms returned this season after missing most of 2015-16 with a fracture of the nevicular bone in his foot that required a similar surgery as fellow big men Joel Embiid and Greg Oden.
–    It was the second major surgery of Willms’ career; he had surgery for a torn labrum in his shoulder in 2014.
–    Willms leads the Miners in field goal percentage (.596) while averaging 10.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
–    Willms has appeared in 71 games for the Miners, with 41 starts, and collected 413 points, 281 rebounds and 69 blocked shots.  His career field goal percentage is .558 (158-for-283).
–    He ranks 12th in school history in blocked shots, behind Marlon Maxey (11th, 75 blocks).

BARRETT’S BREAKOUT

–    After scoring 25 points combined in the first six games of the season, freshman Deon Barrett scored 25 points in the second half at New Mexico on Dec. 7.
–    It marked the most points by a UTEP player in a period since Dominic Artis scored 25 in the second half versus Marshall on Feb. 4, 2016.
–    Barrett tied the school freshman record with seven three-pointers against the Lobos.  Randy Culpepper also made seven versus SMU in the Conference USA Tournament on March 12, 2008 in Memphis.
–    Barrett’s .875 three-point percentage (7-for-8) versus UNM was the best for a UTEP player in a game with a minumum seven makes.  The previous record was .778 (7-for-9) by Jarvis Mullahon at NM State on Nov. 28, 1998.
–    Barrett tied the Conference USA record for three-point percentage in a game (minimum eight attempts) with his performance at UNM.  Tulane’s Patrick Lewis was also 7-for-8 at Saint Louis on Feb. 14, 1996.
–    Barrett’s seven three-pointers against UNM are tied for the most by a C-USA player this season.  LA Tech’s Jacobi Boykins also made seven at Louisiana-Lafayette on Dec. 10.

FRESHMEN UNDER FLOYD

–    Deon Barrett’s 25 points at New Mexico were the second-most by a Miner freshman under seventh-year head coach Tim Floyd.
–    Barrett became the seventh UTEP freshman to tally 20 points or more in a game during the Floyd era.

20-Point Games by Freshmen Under Tim Floyd
Player    Opponent/Date    Points
Vince Hunter    LA Tech (1/30/14)    26
Vince Hunter    at Southern Miss (2/22/14)    26
Deon Barrett    at New Mexico (12/7/16)    25
Cedrick Lang    Arkansas-Pine Bluff (12/29/11)    22
Julian Washburn    at SMU (3/3/12)    21
Vince Hunter    FIU (2/15/14)    21
Terry Winn    vs. Marshall (3/10/16)    21
John Bohannon    Western New Mexico (12/28/10)    20
Matt Willms    Loyola (11/9/13)    20
Vince Hunter    Marshall (1/11/14)    20
Vince Hunter    at Middle Tennessee (1/16/14)    20

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK

–    Deon Barrett was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week on Monday, the sixth UTEP player to be so honored.
–    UTEP’s past C-USA Freshmen of the Week include John Bohannon during the 2010-11 season, Cedrick Lang & Julian Washburn during the 2011-12 campaign, and Vince Hunter & Matt Willms during the 2013-14 season.

JAKE DOES THE DIRTY WORK

–    Jake Flaggert led Conference USA in charges drawn (18) last season, and is back at it in 2016-17 with a team-leading five in eight games.
–    Flaggert has 29 charges drawn in his Miner career (69 games).
–    Two of Flaggert’s three career double-figure scoring games have come early this season, including a personal best 14 points against Northwestern State.
–    He is 9-for-9 from the line this season after entering the campaign as a career 64.3 percent foul shooter.

SOPHOMORES STEP UP

–    Paul Thomas and Trey Touchet have seen their minutes increase in 2016-17.
–    Thomas is averaging 5.5 rebounds and is third on the squad with 14 assists (1.8 apg).
–    Thomas has collected at least five rebounds in six of eight games and has had double-digit boards twice (11 versus Louisiana College, 10 against Northwestern State).
–    Touchet either set or tied career-highs for points (13), three-pointers (three), free throws (four), rebounds (three), assists (two) and minutes (30) against Northwestern State.
–    Touchet has made 12-of-27 shots (.444) on the young campaign, 8-of-20 from three-point territory (.400) and is third on the squad with five steals.

JONES’ STORY

–    One of the freshmen UTEP is counting on this season — 6-11 Kelvin Jones — has had an amazing road to El Paso.
–    He grew up in Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico, where his father was the mayor.  He played soccer and volleyball.
–    In 2011, after cartel violence claimed two relatives, the family left in the middle of the night and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota.
–    Jones started playing basketball his freshman year in high school.  He was 6-9 and the school didn’t have a volleyball program.
–    He finished his prep career at Hobbs [N.M.] High School, where he averaged 14.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks for a 30-2, state championship team.
–    Jones put on 20 pounds in-between his junior and senior seasons.
–    He walked on his first year at UTEP and sold pesticides door-to-door in Houston so he could have enough money to pay for his college tuition.
–    Jones has posted 31 points, 28 rebounds and nine blocks this season.  He is coming off his most productive outing against NM State with seven points and eight rebounds in 17 minutes.
–    Over the last two games, Jones has contributed 11 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in 37 minutes.  He has led the Miners in rebounding in consecutive contests.

MINERS TIE 3-POINT RECORD

–    UTEP made 15 three-pointers at New Mexico on Dec. 7 to tie the school single-game record.
–    The Miners also made 15 triples versus UT Permian Basin (Nov. 22, 2003) and East Carolina (Feb. 13, 2010).
–    UTEP’s .517 three-point percentage (15-for-29) against the Lobos was its best in a game  with a minimum 20 attempts since Dec. 17, 2011 versus Southern (12-for-23, 52.2 percent).
–    The Miners’ 15 three-pointers versus UNM tied the most by a C-USA team in 2016-17.  Charlotte made 15 versus USC Upstate (Nov. 22), and Rice made 15 at Texas Tech (Dec. 3).

MINER NUGGETS

–    The Miners shot at least 53 percent in their first three games of the season, and 55.4 percent (92-for-166) collectively.  They also made 21-of-48 three-pointers (.438) in the first three games.  In their current five-game losing streak the Miners have shot 40.9 percent (117-for-286) from the field and 34.3 percent (36-for-105) from outside.  UTEP has also averaged 64.4 points over the last five games.
–    UTEP has also had its difficulties at the charity stripe over the five-game losing skid (52-for-92, 56.5 percent).
–    UTEP is 2-0 when shooting a better field goal percentage than its opponent, 0-6 when shooting a lesser percentage.
–    The Miners are 0-5 in 2016-17 when being tied or beaten on the boards, 2-1 when outrebounding opponents.
–    The Miners have averaged 7.5 steals over the last four contests.
–    UTEP has used six different starting lineups in eight games.
–    The Miners lead Conference USA in assists this season (16.8 apg), and have assisted on 64.1 percent (134-of-209) of their field goals.  That figure also paces the league.

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