Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez

Miners look to clinch spot in C-USA Tourney at Middle Tennessee Wednesday Night

The UTEP men’s basketball team has won two Conference USA games in a row for the first time in two years and will look to extend its winning ways at Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, March 4.

The Miners and Blue Raiders will tipoff at 5:30 p.m. MT in the Murphy Center.

With a win, the Miners (15-14, 6-10 C-USA) will clinch a spot in the 2020 C-USA Basketball Championships March 11-14. The Blue Raiders (7-22, 3-13 C-USA) are eliminated from postseason contention after falling to Rice, 77-66, on March 1.

UTEP is coming off victors against Rice (Feb. 22) and Southern Miss (March1), winning back-to-back league games for the first time since the 2017-18 season when it defeated LA Tech (Feb. 22) and Southern Miss (Feb. 24) in consecutive games.

The Miners haven’t won three conference games in a row since the 2016-17 campaign when they reeled off five consecutive victories, defeating Southern Miss (Feb. 11), winning at North Texas (Feb. 16), at Rice (Feb. 18), at Florida Atlantic (Feb. 23) and at FIU (Feb. 25).

Daryl Edwards came up with another clutch performance, scoring 26 points during the Miners’ 75-56 victory against Southern Miss. Jordan Lathon also came up with a solid outing, stuffing the stat sheet with 10 points, 10 rebounds, a career-high tying six assists and a career-high six steals, as UTEP never trailed in the contest. Lathon recorded his first double-double of the season and third in his career.

Williams tallied 15 points with six rebounds, while Deon Stroud played seven minutes off the bench, tallying eight points.

The Miners allowed a season-low 56 points in a conference game, while their 13 made three-pointers was a season-high in a league contest.

UTEP, entering last week’s game against Rice, averaged 5.6 three-pointers made per game. The Miners have averaged 12.5 three-pointers made their last two games, while shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc.

Edwards, who’s averaging 30.0 points per game his last two contests, has spearheaded the sharpshooting. The graduate transfer from LSU is shooting 57.1 percent (12-21) from downtown.

The Miners edged out the Blue Raiders, 67-66, on Jan. 30 in the Haskins Center. UTEP erased an early 13-point deficit (22-9), as Williams poured in 28 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Efe Odigie also recorded a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds).

After an upset win at UTSA, 83-80, on Feb. 1, MT is 1-5 in its last six games. C.J. Jones leads the Blue Raiders at 16.0 points per game, while Antonio Green is also averaging double figures (12.9). Donovan Sims leads the team with 96 assists, while Reggie Scurry averages a team-leading 5.2 rebounds per game.

The game can be heard on UTEP’s flagship station 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” calling the action. The contest will also be streamed on ESPN3.