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H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Look to Rebound on Road at Florida Atlantic

UTEP (4-12, 1-3 C-USA) will wrap up its stay in the “Sunshine State” by playing at Florida Atlantic (4-11, 0-4 C-USA) at 3 p.m. MST/5 p.m. EST Saturday.

The Miners were handed their second straight defeat in heartbreaking fashion, falling ,88-87, at FIU in triple overtime on a 35-foot buzzer beater in the longest game in program history on Thursday (1/12/17). The Owls have lost five straight and nine of their last 10 contests, including a 72-62 home setback to UTSA last time out on Thursday(1/12/17).

The Miners are in the midst of playing three straight and seven of their next nine away from home. They are 0-1 thus far in the stretch, with the gut-wrenching triple-overtime loss at FIU.  Following Saturday’s game, UTEP has a bye before playing at UTSA at 1 p.m. MST/2 p.m. CST on Jan. 21.

The Miners will then be home for WKU (free admission with “Pack The House”, 7:05 p.m. MST, Jan. 26) and Marshall (2 p.m., Jan. 28) before having four straight league road games for the first time since 2006 C-USA play.

UTEP 1-3 in league play for the first time in 15 years (also 1-3 in 2001-02). That was Keitha Adam’s first year on the sidelines and it came when the Miners were members of the WAC.

Fans can listen live to Tim Hagerty (play-by-play) call on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD-AM Radio or by following the Miners (@UTEPWBB) or Owls (@FAU_WBB) on Twitter.

THIS AND THAT ON CONFERENCE USA

–  Middle Tennessee (4-0) is the only teams without a league loss.

–  Florida Atlantic (0-4) and Rice (0-4) are the lone programs without a conference victory.

–  Teams play all 13 members at least once, while facing five teams in home-and-home for 18-game slate.

–  The top 12 teams will qualify for the single-elimination tournament (March 8-11, Birmingham, Ala.-UAB) with the top four teams as seeded by regular season standings receiving a bye. The winner will gain the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

GETTING TO KNOW FLORIDA ATLANTIC : Overall: 4-11 | Home: 4-4   Road: 0-7    Neutral: 0-0

C-USA: 0-4  Home: 0-1   Road: 0-3

–  FIU is under the direction of first-year head coach Tiara Malcolm; she was an assistant coach in 2015-16 before serving as the acting head coach for the final four games of the year.

–  Sasha Cedeno (11.2) and Malia Kency (10.0) pace the team in scoring.

–  Cedeno is hitting 36.0 percent (seventh C-USA/120th nation) from three-point range; she makes 2.1 triples/game for the year (fifth C-USA/139th nation).

–  Got off to 3-2 start on the season but is 1-9 since, including losing five straight.

–  Solid 4-4 on the year at home; has been hindered by 0-7 road mark.

–  The team’s 40.5 rebounds/game is fifth in C-USA/96th nationally.

–  FAU nails 6.6 three pointers/game (sixth C-USA/105th nationally).

–  Owls are last in C-USA and among the worst statistically nationally in scoring defense (72.-5-313th), turnovers/game (20.1-319th), free throws made (136-329th) and attempted (208-323rd),  turnover margin (-5.80- 334th) and steals/game (4.9-343rd).

–  Notable alumni include Don Brewer (drummer & founding member of the band Grand Funk Railroad), Fern “Peachy” Kellymeyer (1999 Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee) and Carrot Top (Prop Comedian with Vegas Show)

LAST MEETING WITH FAU (at UTEP 70, FIU 52, 2/12/16)

–  UTEP turned up the defensive pressure by holding Florida Atlantic to 31.5 percent shooting and forcing 23 turnovers on the way to a convincing 75-47 wire-to-wire victory on Feb. 13.

–  UTEP pounced on the Owls early, tallying 12 of the game’s first 14 points to secure a double-digit cushion less than four minutes in. After FAU cut it to three early in the second quarter, UTEP used a 15-2 run to regain control. The Miners scored the first 16 points of the third quarter to put things out of reach.

–  The Orange and Blue converted the Owls’ 23 giveaways into 33 points while also controlling the boards (46-36). Another big factor was UTEP’s defense of the three-point shot. FAU, which entered the game fifth nationally for three pointers/game, managed to make just 4-23 (17.4 percent) from distance.

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