UTEP is one of the eight schools in the 12-game, bracketed in-season college basketball tournament featuring 2017 Final Four participant South Carolina (Southeastern), and post-season participants Boise State (Mountain West Conference), Illinois State (Missouri Valley), Iowa State (Big 12), Appalachian State (Sun Belt), Tulsa (American Athletic), and Western Michigan
UTEP (8-15, 6-5 C-USA) wraps up a four-game homestand on Saturday when it hosts Southern Miss (7-17, 4-8 C-USA).
The Miners had their 10-game Conference USA homecourt win streak end with a 62-61 loss to LA Tech on Thursday. UTEP lost for just the second time in its last 23 league home games dating back to the 2014-15 season.
UTEP is 5-1 in C-USA home games this season, and 48-13 in C-USA home games under coach Tim Floyd. The Miners are 77-18 overall in C-USA home games.
UTEP is in a five-way tie for fifth place in Conference USA with Marshall, Rice, UTSA and WKU. The teams are a half-game behind fourth-place Old Dominion as the chase for a bye in next month’s Conference USA Championship enters the home stretch.
The game will feature a halftime performance by the Air Elite Dunk Team.
ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS
– After opening 3-3 in C-USA play, the Golden Eagles have dropped five of their last six league games.
– Southern Miss is 0-9 on the road in 2016-17, including 0-5 in C-USA. The Golden Eagles lost at Old Dominion (54-50), Charlotte (82-66), Middle Tennessee (72-56), UAB (87-43) and UTSA (57-51) in league action.
– Southern Miss has lost 15 consecutive road games dating back to a 66-60 win at FIU on Jan. 16, 2016.
– Senior swingman Quinton Campbell has quietly put together a solid season for Southern Miss, averaging 12.5 points and 5.9 rebounds. – Sophomore guard Cortez Edwards chips in with 10.0 ppg. He is averaging 11.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg in C-USA play, shooting 46.5 percent from the field.
– Southern Miss is last in C-USA in scoring offense (61.0 ppg), scoring margin (-9.6 ppg), steals (4.5 spg) and turnover margin (-2.1).
– The Golden Eagles are in their third year under the direction of coach Doc Sadler, who led UTEP to a 48-18 record in two years as head coach (2004-06) with one NCAA Tournament and one NIT appearance.
– UTEP owns a 14-12 advantage in the Southern Miss series, but the Golden Eagles have won eight of the last 11 matchups and seven of the last nine.
– UTEP is 10-2 versus Southern Miss in El Paso, including 7-1 since joining C-USA.
– In the last two games between the teams at the Haskins Center, the Miners busted out to leads of 17-0 (2015) and 13-0 (2016).
THE LAST MEETING
– Omega Harris (26) and Dominic Artis (23) combined for 49 points, but Southern Miss converted 16 Miner turnovers into 24 points and raced to a 73-65 win on Jan. 7 in Hattiesburg.
– The Miners couldn’t get to the line in the first half. In the second half they went to the line 19 times, making 12, and held Southern Miss to 39.3 percent shooting. That was good enough to play the Golden Eagles to a 34-34 draw, but not enough to carve into a 39-31 halftime deficit.
– UTEP got down by 11 early in the second half. The Miners scored the next seven points to make it 48-44, but couldn’t get any closer.
– Another key stretch came midway through the second half when, after Harris’ free throw made it a six-point game (54-48), Southern Miss’ Robert Thomas nailed a three pointer.
– Finally, with UTEP trailing by six (69-63) and under two minutes left, Artis and Harris missed a series of shots that could’ve made things interesting had they gone down.
– The Miners went on a 9-2 run early in the first half to take a 13-10 lead. The game was closely contested for most of the period until the Golden Eagles outscored the Miners 9-2 over the final 3:01 to go into the locker room up eight. Artis ended a string of nine consecutive points for the Golden Eagles by banking in a jumper right before the buzzer.
– Quinton Campbell scored 24 points with 10 rebounds for Southern Miss, and Cortez Edwards added 17 points. The Golden Eagles shot 46.3 percent and scored 30 points in the paint.
TIM FLOYD’S SOUTHERN MISS CONNECTION
– Tim Floyd’s hometown is Hattiesburg, Miss.
– Floyd’s late father, Lee, coached the Golden Eagles for 14 seasons (1949-54 and 1962-71) and is the second-winningest coach in school history with 246 victories.
– Floyd spent two seasons as a walk-on at Southern Miss before finishing his collegiate playing career at LA Tech.
LAST GAME: LA TECH 62, UTEP 61
– The Miners nearly pulled off another stirring comeback victory, but Dominic Artis’ three-pointer with four seconds remaining was no good and LA Tech held on for a 62-61 victory on Thursday in El Paso.
– Derric Jean put the Bulldogs ahead 62-54 on a free throw with 3:45 to play. The Miners would score the next seven points and the Bulldogs wouldn’t score again. But UTEP missed two chances to win it in the final minute. Artis turned it over with 42 seconds left before missing the three.
– UTEP was victimized by a 13-for-23 night at the foul line. That was a key stat, as was LA Tech making 7-of-15 three pointers in the second half and 11-of-26 for the game.
– The first half went the Miners’ way for the most part, as they led by as many as nine (28-19) and went to the locker room up 30-24. LA Tech used a 21-3 run early in the second half to turn a 32-24 deficit into a 45-35 lead.
– Erik McCree led the Bulldogs with 19 points and eight rebounds. He was 4-for-4 from three-point range, including 3-for-3 in the second half when he scored 14 points.
– The Miners placed four players in double figure scoring – Omega Harris (14 points), Matt Willms (13), Artis (12) and Paul Thomas (11). Thomas matched his career-high with 13 rebounds.
– DaQuan Bracey dished out seven of his 10 assists in the second half for LA Tech, which shot 29.2 percent in the second half but heated up to 50 percent (14-for-28) over the final 20 minutes.