UTEP set a program record for field-goal percentage defense while also forcing 31 turnovers on the way to thumping Division II UTPB, 86-32, at the Don Haskins Center Monday evening. The Miners (8-0) held the Falcons (3-6) to 16.7 percent (8-48) from the floor, including 7.4 percent (2-27) in the second half, to help secure the third start of at least 8-0 to a year in program history.
The visitors relied on some hot three-point shooting to hang around early but once the Miners shored things up defensively UTPB had no answer. The Orange and Blue outscored UTPB, 65-17, over the final three quarters. The knockout blow was delivered through defense, with UTEP wrapping a 28-1 run around halftime. The effort turned a precarious three-point lead (21-18, 9:15 2Q) into a comfortable 30-point cushion (49-19, 4:14 3Q).
Despite continuing to play hard, whatever UTPB was able to accomplish the rest of the way was essentially rendered moot.
The 54-point margin of victory is the fifth largest at UTEP while the 32 points allowed tie as the 10th fewest in program annals. The Miners had no such difficulties, connected on 52.5 percent (32-61) while outscoring UTPB 65-17 over the final three quarters.
“This was a good game for us to get under our belts coming off of finals week,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “We’re going to have to come in to have a really good couple of days of practice to get ready for Long Beach State on Friday.”
UTEP featured a balanced attack on offense, with Starr Breedlove (13 points), Jenzel Nash (11 points), Anete Kirsteine (10 points) and Sparkle Taylor (10 points) all reaching double figures in scoring. Breedlove also posted game highs for both assists (four) and steals).
The Miners walloped UTPB on the boards (46-31) while holding big advantages in points in the paint (50-2), points off turnovers (27-4), fast-break points (20-0) and bench points (47-11).
It was a fairly competitive first quarter, with UTPB actually holding a 12-8 lead with 4:59 remaining in the stanza. UTEP turned up the heat on defense to spark a 13-1 run. The Falcons did well to recover, albeit momentarily, with a mini 5-0 run to get within three early in the second quarter.
But that was as close as things would get, with UTPB going scoreless the final 9:15 of the second quarter and the first four minutes of the third quarter. It was a mix of turnovers and shots simply not falling, with UTEP making sure that UTPB would not hang around.
The second Keitha Adams radio show will be held from 6-7 p.m. MST on Tuesday (Dec. 15) at Rulis’ International Kitchen (4176 North Mesa Street).
Fans are invited to the show, which will feature Coach Adams talking all things UTEP women’s basketball with Steve Kapolowitz. There will be a Happy Hour from 4-7 p.m. with the following specials: $4 street tacos, $5 single-topping pizza, $5 nacho charros, $1 off beer and $2 off glasses of wine, Keitha Adams Radio Show Special: 1/2 pound grass-fed burger, and a 16-ounce craft beer for only $10.
Author: UTEP Athletics