Miners sink UT Rio Grande Valley 85-64

Dominic Artis scored a career-high 21 points on seven three-pointers, as UTEP closed out its non-conference schedule with an 85-64 waxing of UT Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday at the Don Haskins Center.

Artis added eight rebounds and eight assists as the Miners won for the second straight game to take an 8-5 mark into Conference USA play, which begins this weekend at the Haskins Center.

Artis became the seventh Miner to hit seven three-pointers in a game, joining Miguel Ayala, Randy Culpepper, Omar Duran, Antoine Gillespie, Mark Ingles and Jarvis Mullahon.  The seven threes were two shy of the school game record.

Hooper Vint collected his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Terry Winn contributed 17 points and seven boards in just 14 minutes of work.  Lee Moore posted solid all-around numbers with nine points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

Artis and Moore combined for 17 assists and only one turnover.

DSC_2945“I thought our guard play was very good tonight,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “It always looks better when the ball is going in the basket.  You look at Lee Moore and Dominic Artis’ assist-to-turnover ratio.  The ball is just moving so well right now and as a result, this team that I told people could shoot it and you all thought I was crazy early, looks like we can shoot it because we are getting really open looks.”

The Miners shot 46.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent (8-for-18) from three-point range.  They assisted on 26 of their 33 field goals.

Artis continues to close in on posting what would be only the second triple-double in school history.

“He’s a good player,” Floyd said.  “We tend to forget that he and Lee both sat out a year ago and did not play.  It has taken him a little while and I think he’s playing with more confidence.  I think they are both in better condition.  I think that is helping them as well.  I was pleased with Dominic defensively tonight and doing what we ask him to do.  We have had our battles with all of these new guys on the perimeter.  But I do sense that he took a step forward tonight.”

The Miners had runs of 9-0, 8-0 and 6-0 in the first half on their way to a 43-35 advantage at the break.  UTEP trailed just three times in the first 20 minutes at 3-2, 6-3 and 27-25.  After the Vaqueros’ Dakota Slaughter drained a three pointer to put his team up by two, Artis made back-to-back three-pointers to spur an 18-8 surge to end the period.

The Miners pushed the lead out to 17 points (66-49) midway through the second half.  The Vaqueros (3-11) scored eight straight to cut it to nine before UTEP ended the game with a flurry.  The Miners scored 17 points in the final four minutes.

Shaquille Hines scored 15 points for UTRGV, which made 6-of-14 three pointers in the first half but just 1-of-11 in the final 20 minutes.

“The group we played against really shot it well tonight,” Floyd said.  “I think their percentage dropped dramatically in the second half fromFullSizeRender (5) the three-point line, but they just wore it out in the first half.  Our guys did a nice job of extending to their shooters in the second half, extending our pressure a little bit, and that helped us.”

The Miners received their third double-double of the season from Vint, who was playing with a heavy heart.

“I thought Hooper had a nice game,” Floyd said.  “He had a tough loss, [he] lost a very, very close personal friend, one of his two or three best friends in the world, yesterday morning in that boating accident in Oklahoma that you read about on the front page of USA Today on a duck hunting trip.  This kid was in the home visit when we recruited Hooper, he came out here and visited him a couple of times since he has been out here in El Paso.  So he’s playing in a different place right now emotionally and mentally and I thought he handled it very well.”

UTEP outrebounded UTRGV 54-36 (22 offensive rebounds) and scored 47 points in the paint and 28 off turnovers.

The Miners will open Conference USA play at home on Friday at 7 against Rice.  The game will feature a special halftime performance by the Russian Bar Trio.  RB3 has appeared on America’s Got Talent Season 3, The Oprah Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Tickets are available by calling 747-5234.​

Author:  UTEP Athletics