The UTEP Miners men’s basketball team defeated the UCSB Gauchos on Monday night at the Don Haskins Center by the score of 89-76. The game against the team from Santa Barbara was the first real test of the season for the Miners and it can be argued that they passed it with flying colors.
Once again UTEP head coach Joe Golding went deep into the Miners bench, rotating players with frequency to wear out the Gauchos down the stretch. Zid Powell led the way for UTEP with 23 points, four assists and a steal.
With this result the Miners improved their record to 3-0, remaining undefeated on the season. While the first two results of the season were expected to be thorough victories, a double digit victory against the caliber of team that UCSB is something El Paso sports fans should be attentive to.
Here’s what happened
- UTEP got off to the start that they needed to have. They showed plenty of energy and intensity on both ends of the floor taking and keeping the lead for the first five minutes of the game. Then the Gauchos went on a 10-0 run over 3:47 to lead by as much as six points with 11 minutes to go in the first half.
- Once UTEP broke that run, they were able to claw their way back into the game, making it a back and forth affair. The teams went into their locker rooms at halftime tied 44-44. Zid Powell and Tae Hardy were the two Miners that made it to double figures in scoring with 17 and 12 points respectively.
- The Miners came out red hot in the second half manufacturing a 8-0 run over the span of the first two minutes and 10 seconds to take a 52-44 lead. Otis Frazier III contributed to that run with four points of his own.
- After UCSB snapped that opening run, the home team was able to build a double digit lead with 14 minutes left in the game. UTEP went on to lead by as many as 17-points with a little more than 10 minutes to go in the game. In this stretch of the game Hardy would go on to have a handful of valuable assists.
- In the final five minutes of the game the Miners were able to maintain and manage a double digit lead without any real complications and put the game to bed.
What was said
After the game both Hardy and Powell spoke with the media. Hardy began by saying, “We’re having fun. We’re playing for each other and everybody believes in one another and that’s the thing that stands out. Now we’re just showing the fans what we’ve been working on since the summer.”
As for coach Golding, he expressed his respect to Gauchos, he thanked fans in attendance and thanked UTEP Football head coach Dana Dimel and some of his players for coming out to support his squad.
“I’m proud of our guys, great effort and I’m really happy for them. We asked them to do a lot of tough things and tonight they got rewarded for it. Obviously it’s game three, we have a long season to go, we can get a lot better, but happy for our guys.”
The homestand for the Miners to start this season will continue on Friday night when they will host Austin Peay as part of the on campus round of the SoCal challenge. Friday’s game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. MST tipoff. It will be their fourth game in a row at the Don Haskins Center to start the 2023-2024 season.
Author: Joe Rodriguez – El Paso Herald Post
Rodriguez is a life long El Pasoan. Joe has covered sports locally across the Borderland since 2007 for various media outlet both in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez as a personal passion as he is a professional in the world of healthcare (Physiatry). His favorite sports include soccer, auto racing, golf and horse racing.