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Saturday , October 20 2018
Home | Tag Archives: c-usa

Tag Archives: c-usa

Miner’s Miracle Season Ends with 82-56 Loss to Middle Tennessee

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – Middle Tennessee turned in a stifling defensive effort and took advantage of 18 UTEP turnovers in ending the Miners’ season with an 82-56, Conference USA Championship semifinal victory on Friday at Legacy Arena.

The Blue Raiders (29-4) avenged a 57-54 loss at UTEP in early February while setting a school record for victories and advancing to Saturday’s title game.  The Miners’ season ends at 15-17.  UTEP started the year 2-13 before finishing 13-4 and tying for third place in C-USA.

“Middle Tennessee is a terrific team,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “If the NCAA does not take them to the tournament should something negative go on tomorrow, there’s a real, real problem with that.  They led our league in basically every statistical category, and those same categories they won tonight – assist/turnover ratio, rebounding margin, defensive points allowed, and they did a great job in all those areas.”

The Blue Raiders scored 25 points off UTEP turnovers.  Middle Tennessee reverted to form following an uncharacteristic performance in El Paso where the Miners scored 15 points off 19 Blue Raider giveaways.

Middle Tennessee also outrebounded UTEP 41-30, with 12 offensive rebounds leading to 10 second-chance points.  The Miners shot 39.2 percent from the field, as Middle Tennessee neutralized senior guard Dominic Artis (six points, 2-for-10 field goals) in his final college game.

“They’ve got a well-coached team,” Floyd said.  “They play well together, they move the ball well, and they force turnovers that other teams in our league don’t.  They forced a lot of turnovers today with our ballclub. I thought our kids tried.  We just weren’t very good today, and it had a lot to do with Middle Tennessee and their approach to the game.”

The Miners led once, at 2-0.  They hung in for the first 10 minutes, trailing 17-12.  Then the Blue Raiders scored six consecutive points – a three-point play by Reggie Upshaw, a three-pointer by Xavier Habersham – and pushed the lead to 11 (23-12).  UTEP got within seven (25-18) on two free throws by Omega Harris with 4:38 remaining in the half.  Middle Tennessee answered with six in a row once again.  At halftime, the Blue Raiders led 37-23.

The Miners fell behind 40-23 to start the second half.  They got within 15 twice, but that was it as the Blue Raiders blew out to a 29-point lead.

Reggie Upshaw, very quiet in the El Paso matchup, led the Blue Raiders with 18 points and eight rebounds. Giddy Potts scored 14, JaCorey Williams 13 and Antwain Johnson 11 off the bench.  The Blue Raiders recorded 16 assists, including a game-high five from Tyrik Dixon, and nine turnovers.  Potts swiped five of Middle Tennessee’s 12 steals, the most by a UTEP opponent this season.

Paul Thomas had an excellent game for the Miners.  He scored 18 points, making 7-of-10 shots and 4-of-6 free throws.  Harris scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half.

Artis, so good during the Miners’ 13-4 run to close out the season, ended his college career with 1,215 points, 484 rebounds, 502 assists and 163 steals.  He is the first player in school history to lead the team in rebounds, assists and steals in a season.   His 187 assists this season are third-most in school history.

UTEP will add a host of reinforcements to a solid nucleus of returning players for 2017-18.  The book closes on a truly inspirational 2016-17 campaign.

“It flipped from being a really, really poor basketball team through the first week in January to a team that was a real problem for people the last couple of months,” Floyd said.  “It’s a real testament to guys taking responsibility for their inadequacies, coaches as well, and not pointing the finger, making the determination to self-improve and what can come from that when you’ve got a common goal in mind.  I was extremely, extremely proud of our team.”

The Miners finish the season with Harris averaging 17.0 ppg, Artis 15.0 ppg, Matt Willms 11.4 ppg and Thomas 8.6 ppg.  Jake Flaggert took 33 charges.  Deon Barrett, Kelvin Jones and Trey Touchet grew in leaps and bounds off the bench.

“I came in here every single day the last two months knowing that it was a team committed to getting better,” Floyd said.  “It transferred into wins, and it transferred into great camaraderie.  Dominic Artis should get the lion’s share of the credit for that, being a senior.  He chose not to play for himself, but to try to keep us organized and play with heart.  I thought he did that.

“I told the guys in the locker room, I don’t recall one of my teams where I could look at the seven guys who were playing a lot at the end of the season and say, ‘Each one of you guys improved as much as any guy that I’ve had on any team.’  Every single guy got better, and they were fun to work with.”

UTEP Stands to Make History with Success at C-USA Tournament

When UTEP takes the floor against Rice today in the quarterfinal round of the Conference USA men’s basketball tournament, it will mark the culmination of a momentous feat.

That the Miners enter competition at Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, after a first-round bye is nothing short of remarkable. UTEP secured the No. 4-seed in the tournament after a disastrous start to the 2016-17 season by reeling off 12 wins in its last 15 games. Should the Miners (14-16, 12-6 in C-USA) continue their hot streak to become C-USA tournament champions — and NCAA tournament participants — it will mark something historic.

No team that has lost 12 consecutive regular season games has made the Big Dance. While the task to become the first won’t be simple, there is reason to believe the Miners — who dropped a dozen consecutive contests from Nov. 20 to Jan. 7 — can waltz their way to the field of 68.

The berth would top Coppin State’s run to the 2008 tournament. The Eagles lost 11 straight regular season games before winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament to earn a spot in a No. 16-seed play-in game against Mount St. Mary’s. The 1998-99 Florida A&M team is the only other squad to make the tournament despite having a double-digit losing streak (10).

“It’s an exciting time of the year, not only for us but the other 11 teams that are going to be in the tournament,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said in statement. “Everybody is hopeful. In our case, we have given ourselves a path that is a little easier, only having to play three games to get to the NCAA tournament versus four.”

That path begins with Rice, which advanced to the second round after beating Southern Miss, 86-75, on Wednesday. The Miners have beaten the Owls 17 times in their last 21 meetings. UTEP most recently beat Rice, 79-71, on Feb. 18 in Houston. The Miners have advanced in seven consecutive C-USA tournaments and eight of the last nine.

Their lone opening-round ouster came as a No. 4-seed against Houston in 2009.

If the Miners advance to the semifinals, they will likely face No. 25 Middle Tennessee. The No. 1-seed Blue Raiders won the C-USA regular-season title with 17-1 conference record (27-4 overall). Their lone blemish? That came in El Paso on Feb. 4 in a 57-54 upset. If UTEP can repeat that success, it would have one more team to go through before giving head coach Tim Floyd his first berth with the Miners in the NCAA tournament.

Floyd has had high-profile detractors during his seventh season in El Paso. Most notable among them were the group of fans holding “Fire Floyd” signs in the Don Haskins Center who were confronted by former UTEP head football coach Mike Price. That came in December, in the midst of the Miners’ losing streak.

The signs vanished as the season progressed, replaced by an unprecedented surge to the league’s upper echelon.

Floyd has ridden the play of his stellar guards, Dominic Artis and Omega Harris, during the turnaround. Both players were named to the All-Conference USA team earlier this week and have been catalysts in

the team’s resurgence. While the Miners have battled through injuries, fielded various lineup rotations and struggled with turnovers, the biggest factor in their climb has simply been improved offensive efficiency. During the losing streak, UTEP was shooting 42-percent from the floor and 29-percent from three-point range.

Since then, the Miners have improved to 49-percent and 35-percent, respectively. Couple that with a nearly plus-4 turnover margin per game during the same period and a newfound doggedness on the defensive end of the floor and you have a team that is poised to do what was once unthinkable.

For Floyd, who gruffly accepted responsibility for the team’s poor play after its Dec. 3 loss to Northwestern State, three more wins could provide a catharsis. His arrival in El Paso in 2010 was largely celebrated by fans who appreciated the link to the school’s illustrious past and thought Floyd’s pedigree would bring immediate success to a team fresh off an NCAA tournament appearance. But his previous six seasons have yielded no conference championships and no wins in the second-tier postseason tournaments his teams have qualified for.

A return to the dance would do well to silence the most ardent critics of the highest paid coach in program history. He deserves credit for keeping his team focused through an arduous season. An NCAA tournament berth makes Floyd, whose contract is up in 2018, deserving of even more.

The first step on the road to those possibilities begins today.

Watch it

• What: No. 4-seed UTEP Miners (14-16, 12-6 in Conference USA) vs. No. 5-seed Rice Owls (21-10, 11-7) in quarterfinal round of Conference USA men’s basketball tournament.

• When, where: 1 p.m. MST today, Legacy Arena, Birmingham, Alabama.

• On TV: American Sports Network, Channel 14-KFOX in El Paso.

• Notes: Winner will face the winner of No. 1-seed Middle Tennessee and No. 9-seed UTSA 10:30 a.m. Friday. If UTEP wins its next three games to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament, it would be the first time a team with a 12-game regular season losing streak makes the dance.

Author:  Pablo Villa – Special to the Herald-Post

HP Sports in Depth: Miners Bounce into Birmingham for C-USA Championship

The UTEP men’s basketball team arrived in Birmingham late Monday night to begin preparations for the 2017 Conference USA Championships Presented by metroPCS.  The Miners (14-16) will face either fifth seed Rice or 12th-seed Southern Miss in the tournament quarterfinals on Thursday (March 9) at 1 p.m. Mountain time/2 p.m. Central.

The game will be televised on the American Sports Network and can be seen on KFOX Channel 14 in El Paso.

UTEP has won 12 of its last 15 games and is riding high after securing a first-round bye with a 74-67 victory over Charlotte in the regular season finale on Saturday at the Haskins Center.

“It’s an exciting time of the year, not only for us but the other 11 teams that are going to be in the tournament,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “Everybody is hopeful.  In our case, we have given ourselves a path that is a little easier, only having to play three games to get to the NCAA Tournament versus four.  We have no idea who we’re going to play, but it will be a team that is spirited and talented and very capable of beating us, so we’re going to have to play well on Thursday.”

Rice (21-10) will be a heavy favorite against Southern Miss (9-21) on Wednesday.  But the Owls beat the Golden Eagles twice by a combined four points during the regular season, and had to go overtime to secure a 72-71 victory on Feb. 23 in Houston.

UTEP has enjoyed success as a no. 4 seed in conference tournaments.  In five previous appearances (three in the Western Athletic Conference, one in C-USA), the Miners reached the title game three times as a no. 4 seed and won the WAC title in 1990.  In the Miners’ lone appearance as a no. 4 seed in the C-USA Tourney, they bowed out to no. 5 Houston, 89-85 in overtime, in the 2009 quarterfinals.  The Miners have advanced in seven straight C-USA Tournaments and eight of the last nine.

The Miners have five players who have played in a total of 16 C-USA Tournament games – Jake Flaggert (four), Omega Harris (four), Matt Willms (four), Dominic Artis (two) and Trey Touchet (two).  Artis will be playing in his eighth conference tournament game on Thursday.  He led Oregon to the Pac-12 Tournament championship in 2013.

UTEP has enjoyed a lot of success recently against Rice (17-4 in the last 21 meetings), not so much against Southern Miss (4-8 in the last 12 matchups).  But all history goes out the window in postseason play, and the important thing is that the Miners are feeling good about themselves going in.

“The guys are confident and I think we’re healthy.  That certainly helps,” Floyd said.  “We have won 12 of 15 down the stretch and in the losses, we have been right there with a chance to win.  We know that defense has been our calling card and offensive efficiency of late has been good.  Six turnovers in the last ballgame is a nice stat.  We are certainly looking forward to getting out there and competing.”

The Miners will likely go as far as their guards will carry them this time of the year, and Monday was an exciting day as Artis (second team) and Harris (third team) both earned a spot on the All-Conference USA Team.  Artis, the Miners’ lone senior, will be making his last stand this week.

“That’s terrific for him [making second team All-Conference],” Floyd said.  “He certainly deserves at least that.  He has been a huge part of our turnaround.  He has had some incredible numbers with the 400 points, 150 rebounds, 150 assists and 50 steals.  He has worked as hard as any guy that I’ve had away from the floor at trying to make himself better.  I think he has had a really nice final 12 of 13 ballgames for us.  Defensively is where he has made his most improvement.  He is a terrific rebounder as a point guard, probably the best I have had in that area.”

UTEP won at Rice, 79-71, on Feb. 18, and split two games versus Southern Miss during the regular season. The Miners lost in Hattiesburg (73-65) on Jan. 7 before beginning their 12-3 run, which included an 80-50 rout of the Golden Eagles on Feb. 11 in El Paso.

OPENING TIP

–    UTEP is seeded fourth in the 2017 Conference USA Championships Presented by metroPCS.  The Miners (14-16) will face either fifth seed Rice or 12th seed Southern Miss in the tournament quarterfinals on Thursday (March 9) at 1 p.m. Mountain time/2 p.m. Central.
–    The game will be televised on the American Sports Network.  In El Paso, it can be seen on KFOX Channel 14 or over the air CBS 4.2.  Please check local listings for availability on satellite packages.
–    Rice (21-10) and Southern Miss (9-21) will square off in the first round of the tournament on Wednesdayat 1 p.m. Mountain time/2 p.m. Central.  Rice beat Southern Miss twice this season, on Jan. 21 in Hattiesburg (61-58) and on Feb. 23 in Houston (72-71 in overtime).
–    The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to Friday’s semifinals at 10:30 a.m. Mountain time/11:30 a.m. Central.  That game will be shown on CBS Sports Network.  The championship game is on Saturday, March 11 at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time/7:30 p.m. Central (CBS Sports Network).
–    UTEP is 1-1 versus Rice and 1-2 versus Southern Miss in conference tournaments.  The Miners beat the Owls in the 2005 WAC semis (85-77) in Reno, and lost to the Owls in the 2007 C-USA first round (77-74) in Memphis.  UTEP beat the Golden Eagles in the 2006 C-USA quarterfinals in Memphis (66-47), lost to the Golden Eagles in the 2013 C-USA semifinals in Tulsa (85-67), and lost to the Golden Eagles in the 2014 quarterfinals in El Paso (64-56).

C-USA TOURNEY HISTORY

–    UTEP is 12-11 in C-USA Championship games, reaching the semifinals in 2006, 2008, 2013, 2015 and 2016 and the final in 2010 & 2011.
–    The Miners’ all-time conference tournament record is 39-26 (includes a forfeit against Hawaii in the 1996 WAC Tournament).  UTEP captured WAC Tournament crowns in 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990 and 2005.
–    UTEP was seeded third in the C-USA Championship  in  2006,  10th  in  2007,  sixth  in  2008, fourth in 2009, first in 2010, third in 2011, eighth in 2012, third in 2013, fifth in 2014, second in 2015 and sixth in 2016.
–    UTEP was also a no. 4 seed in the 2009 tournament.  The Miners lost to no. 5 Houston, 89-85 in overtime, in the quarterfinals at Memphis.  UTEP is 7-4 all-time as a no. 4 seed in conference tournaments.  UTEP was seeded fourth in the 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1999 WAC Tournament (the Miners won the fourth seed out of the Pacific Division in 1999).  UTEP reached the WAC Tournament final three of those four years (1988, 1990 and 1993) and captured the title in 1990.

COACH FLOYD IN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS

–    UTEP’s Tim Floyd is 28-19 in 21 conference tournaments with three titles and nine berths in the title game.
–    The titles came in 1990 at New Orleans, 1996 at Iowa State and 2009 at USC.  His teams were conference tournament runner-up in 1989, 1991 and 1993 (New Orleans), 1995 (Iowa State), 2007 (USC) and 2011 (UTEP).
–    UTEP has won its first game in the C-USA Tournament every year under Floyd, who is in his seventh season.  Floyd’s teams (including USC from 2007-09) have advanced in the conference tournament in nine consecutive seasons.  The Miners, meanwhile, have advanced in their last seven C-USA Tournament appearances dating back to 2010, and in eight of the last nine years.

SERIES NOTES

–    UTEP leads the Rice series 21-11 and has won 17 of the last 21 meetings between the schools, including seven in a row.
–    UTEP owns a 15-12 advantage in the Southern Miss series, but the Golden Eagles have won eight of the last 12 matchups and seven of the last 10.

UTEP 79, RICE 71 (FEB. 18)

–    Paul Thomas scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, and UTEP led from start to finish in a 79-71 victory in Houston.
–    UTEP jumped out to a 16-6 lead, led by as many as 14 in the second half and met every charge by the Owls, who had their five-game win streak snapped.
–    The Miners crushed Rice in the paint, 24-10, and made 9-of-14 three pointers (64.3 percent).
–    Dominic Artis scored 16 points with six rebounds, seven assists and three steals.  Omega Harris scored 15 points with an efficient shooting night (6-for-10 FGs, 3-for-4 3FGs).  Jake Flaggert was 3-for-3 from long range, all in the second half.  Thomas made 7-of-9 shots and added 11 rebounds.
–    Rice’s three big guns — Marcus Evans, Egor Koulechov and Marcus Jackson — combined to score 31 points on 7-for-26 shooting from the field, 4-for-18 from three.

SOUTHERN MISS 73, UTEP 65 (JAN. 7)

–    Omega Harris and Dominic Artis combined for 49 points, but Southern Miss converted 16 Miner turnovers into 24 points and raced to a 73-65 victory in Hattiesburg.
–    UTEP trailed 39-31 at halftime and got down by 11 early in the second half.  The Miners scored the next seven points to make it 48-44, but couldn’t get closer.
–    Another key stretch came midway through the second half when, after Harris’ free throw made it a six-point game (54-48), Southern Miss’ Robert Thomas nailed a three pointer.
–    Finally, with UTEP trailing by six (69-63) and under two minutes left, Artis and Harris missed a series of shots that could’ve made things interesting had they gone down.
–    Harris scored 26 points, and Artis added 23 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.  Quinton Campbell scored 24 points with 10 rebounds for Southern Miss, and Cortez Edwards added 17 points.

UTEP 80, SOUTHERN MISS 50 (FEB. 11)

–    Dominic Artis scored six of his 20 points during a 16-0 run early in the second half as UTEP thumped Southern Miss in the Don Haskins Center.
–    The Miners made 12 three pointers led by Artis, who was 6-for-9 from long range.  UTEP finished 12-for-23 from beyond the arc and shot 52.9 percent from the field on a night where Southern Miss’ game plan was to take the Miners’ inside game away.
–    The Miners led 41-31 at the half.  Southern Miss cut it to nine (45-36) with 16:48 to play before UTEP went on the 16-0 run to take command.
–    Artis had 10 assists and six rebounds.  Omega Harris scored 17 points and Jake Flaggert hit three threes, the equalizer with Matt Willms and Paul Thomas combining for 13 points (four in the first half).

C-USA Quarterfinals to be carried by KFOX14 & CBS4

Via a Monday afternoon news release, local stations KFOX and CBS4 announced they will be televising the Conference USA Tournament live, starting Thursday, March 9th.

General Manager Kevin Hayes says “We are so excited for UTEP fans, as well as those interested in the rest of the C-USA Tourney implications.”

Hayes added, “KFOX14 and American Sports Network are happy to partner to bring El Paso and Las Cruces the C-USA Quarterfinals Tourney.”

The games will feature the 8 best teams in Men’s C-USA, in action of the campus of UAB. Currently tied for 3 rd place in the standings, UTEP has a chance at a first round bye.

Fans can also follow the C-USA quarterfinals via any web-enabled device on KFOXTV.COM and CBS4local.com. Users only need to log on, click on the story, bookmark it, and hit play.

Below is the 3/9/17 Broadcast schedule as it stands now; and update will be sent as soon as C-USA sets the matchups up with specific teams for these games.

10:30AM KFOX14 14 (14.1)

1:00PM KFOX14 14 (14.1)

4:30PM KFOX14 14 (14.1)

7:00PM KDBC (CBS4) 4.3

KFOX 14.1 can be seen over the air, on Time Warner Cable, Channels 8 & 1206; DirectTV Channel, 14; Dish Network, Channel 14; Uverse Channels, 14 & 1014; and Comcast channels 8 & 213.

KDBC 4.3 can be seen over the air and Uverse Channels, 136 & 11136;

MARCHFEST 728X90