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

H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Host Marshall Saturday Afternoon

UTEP (5-14, 2-5 C-USA) will aim at a split in its mini homestand when it plays host to Marshall (12-7, 4-4 C-USA) on “80’s night” at 2 p.m. MST at the Don Haskins Center Saturday. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for kids.

Duke Keith (play-by-play) and Traci Miller (color commentary) will have the call on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD-AM Radio. There will be a live stream on UTEPAthletics (subscription based).

Fans can also stay up-to-date by following the Miners (@UTEPWBB) or Thundering Herd (@HerdWBB) on Twitter.

–  UTEP, which is in the midst of playing seven of nine on the road, is wrapping up its first homestand in almost three weeks. The Miners were upended, 71-54, by league-leading WKU on Jan. 26 last time out.

–  The Miners are 4-6 at home, including 1-2 in C-USA. MU is 2-5 on the road, including 1-3 in C-USA.

–  Following the mini homestand the Miners will play four straight league road games for the first time since 2005-06 (initial year in C-USA). Upon conclusion of that, UTEP will have had seven of nine away from home.

–  In seven league games UTEP is shooting 41.6 percent (182-438), compared to 40.7 percent (183-450) by its opponents, but UTEP’s scoring margin is -6.3 (69.4-75.7). A big difference has been free throws. Foes have hit 74.3 percent (127-171) to UTEP’s 65.7 percent (90-137).

THIS AND THAT ON CONFERENCE USA

–  Teams play all 13 members at least once and face five teams in home-and-home for 18-game C-USA slate.

–  The top 12 teams (14 in C-USA) 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.

–  Charlotte (7-1) and WKU (7-1) share first place in the league with Middle Tennessee (6-2) and UTSA (5-2) one game back in the loss column. LA Tech (5-3) is the only other team with a winning league mark. –

 –  Marshall, Southern Miss and Old Dominion are all 4-4 while UAB, North Texas and FIU share ninth at 3-5 UTEP is in 12th at 2-5, with a half-game lead on Rice (2-6), followed by FAU (0-8).

INSIDE THE SERIES

–  UTEP leads the series, 7-6, aided by a 4-1 mark in El Paso.

–  UTEP claimed the first four meetings at the Don Haskins Center before a 76-71 win by Marshall in ‘14-15.

–  Marshall has won two straight in the series, including a 79-64 (2/4/15) win last year.

–  The programs have squared off annually since both teams joined C-USA for the 2005-06 season.

GETTING TO KNOW MARSHALL

Overall: 12-7                 Home: 9-1   Road 2-5     Neutral 1-1 | C-USA: 4-4  Home: 3-1   Road 1-3

–  Marshall returned three starters and seven letter winners from last year’s team (21-12, 9-9 C-USA).

–  MU won four straight to help fuel an 8-3 mark in non-conference play.

–  The Thundering Herd got off to a 2-0 start in C-USA action before dropping three straight and four of the next five. They got back on track last time out with an impressive 88-81 win at UTSA (1/26).

–  Marshall is among C-USA/national leaders for rebounds/game (41.1-first/53rd), three-point field goal defense (27.6-first/27th), blocks/game (5.6-2nd/19th), scoring offense (73.5-second/47th), scoring margin (+9.5-second/69th), field goal defense (37.4-second/77th), rebounds/game (41.6-third/77th) and field-goal percentage (43.2-fifth/64th).

–  Marshall is seventh in C-USA for three-point percentage but it paces the league and is top-50 nationally for triples made (148-50th) and attempted (459-40th).

–  Shayna Gore paces the squad and checks into league/national rankings for points/game 16.7 (sixth/100th) and steals/game (2.2-sixth/101st).

–  Kiana Evans (12.3) and Talequia Hamilton (12.0) join Gore in double figures scoring average.

–  Hamilton (2.0-first/46th) and Ashley Saintigene (1.9-third/57th) are big time shot blockers.

–  Notable university alumni include Hal Greer (NBA Hall of Fame Member) and Jim Thornton (Wheel of Fortune Announcer).

LAST MEETING WITH WKU (at Marshall 79, UTEP 64 (2/4/16)

–  A valiant comeback bid by UTEP fell short in a 79-64 loss at Marshall on Feb. 4, 2016.

–  The Miners trailed by as many as 24 (46-24) with 8:58 to play in the third quarter before unleashing a 22-4 run to pull all the way back to within four (50-46) late the stanza. To their credit the Thundering Herd weathered the storm, answering the UTEP surge with one of their own (11-2) midway through the fourth quarter to reinstate a double-digit advantage (69-55) with 5:43 remaining in regulation. UTEP showed good character in refusing to quit but it could get no closer than 10 the rest of the way.

–  The loss was the first in C-USA and second overall for UTEP, which had its 10-game win streak stopped

–  Jenzel Nash recorded her first career double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) while Sparkle Taylor came off the bench to tally 17 points.Lulu McKinney added 10 from the pine as well while Starr Breedlove and Cameasha Turner each finished with eight points.

–  But enough shots wouldn’t fall, with the Miners finishing at 30.8 percent (30.8) from the floor

–  Rebounding was also a factor, with the Thundering Herd winning the boards by a count of 50-42.

–  Both Turner and Breedlove fouled out, marking the first disqualifications of the year by a Miner.

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