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Miners to Salute Four Seniors Saturday Against UTSA

Four seniors who have combine​d for 733 points and 308 rebounds in 2015-16 will be honored prior to the UTEP men’s basketball team’s regular season finale versus UTSA on Saturday at 2 p.m.in the Haskins Center.

The Conference USA champion Miner women’s basketball team will also be recognized at halftime.

Tickets in the copper section have been reduced from $18 to $12 on “Fan Appreciation Day,” and the lowest ticket price remains only $8.

The Miners’ senior class is composed of 6-3 guard Tevin Caldwell (El Paso, Texas), 6-1 guard Victor Mbachu (Houston, Texas), 6-4 guard Earvin Morris (Memphis, Tenn.) and 6-11 center Hooper Vint (Van Buren, Ark.).

A transfer from Cochise College, Caldwell has appeared in 56 games over the course of the 2013-14 and 2015-16 seasons (redshirted in 2014-15), including four starts.  He has tallied 106 points, 70 rebounds, 23 assists and 18 steals.  He is a career 61.3 percent (38-for-62) shooter and 76.9 percent (30-for-39) from the line.

Caldwell had a near double-double in the season opener versus Loyola (New Orleans) and has been a valuable bench performer for the Miners during the C-USA stretch drive, although he missed Saturday’sgame at Charlotte due to an ankle injury.

“Tevin does the intangibles.  He’s a giver versus a taker,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “He’s a guy that’s setting the charge, he’s a guy that’s making a back cut, he’s a guy that’s making the extra pass, he’s a guy that’s going back to the offensive boards, he’s a guy that’s guarding a 6-9 guy at 6-2 and a half, doing all the things that nobody else really wants to do.  He has the respect of his teammates.  He’s a guy that cares about winning. He demonstrated that this summer when he gave up his scholarship so that we could sign Brodricks Jones.  There’s not a handful of guys in the country that would do that.  He’s one of my favorite guys.”

Mbachu has made 11 appearances for UTEP after transferring from Angelina College.  He was a vital cog in a decimated Miner backcourt early in the 2014 conference season.  Mbachu has continued to play a key role as a scout team member.

“Vic is the ultimate team guy,” Floyd said.  “He has shown up to work every day this year and given a great effort in practice.  He has helped us get better as a basketball team in a lot of ways.  He is fiercely loyal and an extremely hard worker who has really been a huge plus for our program.”

Morris has provided instant offense for UTEP over the last two years after transferring from Tallahassee Community College.  In 62 games for the Miners, including 31 starts, Morris has scored 733 points (11.8 avg.) while adding 177 rebounds (2.9 avg.), 93 assists (1.5 avg.), 49 steals (0.8 avg.) and 21 blocks (0.3 avg).

Morris has shot 44.2 percent (249-for-563) from the field and 36.8 percent (99-for-269) from beyond the arc.  He is tied for 15th in school history in three-pointers made and rates 11th in three-point field goal percentage.  Morris has scored in double figures 42 times for the Miners, including a career-high 32 points versus WKU on Feb. 6.

He was named Conference USA Player of the Week on Nov. 30 after scoring 22 of his 28 points after halftime in the Miners’ 99-90, double overtime win over Colorado State.

“Earv has been a great contributor to our program,” Floyd said.  “He is a big shot guy.  He has made a lot of big plays and big shots for us throughout his two years here.  He has been an overall asset to our program.”

Vint has played in 98 games for UTEP, with 21 starting assignments this season.  He has posted 428 points (4.4 avg.), 272 rebounds (2.8 avg.) and 58 blocks (0.6 avg.), shooting 53 percent (177-for-334) from the field.  With three more blocks, he will move into the top-15 in school history.  Vint has scored in double figures 15 times as a senior, including a career-high 20 points against North Texas on Jan. 3.  He has posted career-highs across the board in 2015-16, averaging 9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks with a .556 field goal percentage and .742 free throw percentage.  Vint is seventh in C-USA in blocked shots and eighth in field goal percentage this season.

“I think what’s important from Hooper’s perspective, in terms of the country, is that there are not 10 guys who played as little as he played for three years and didn’t transfer,” Floyd said.  “There were over 700 transfers last year in Division I, which is a testament to his persistence, his belief that he could get better if he continued to work, his belief that it was his personal responsibility to get better.  And he has gotten better and we have been able to rely on him for key stretches in games.  He has been a starter here for the majority of this year and he has shown marked improvement from when he got here five years ago.”

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