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Home | Tag Archives: miner basketball

Tag Archives: miner basketball

Miners continue road swing at Rice on Thursday Night

UTEP is looking for its first road win in over a year as the Miners will travel to Houston, to take on Rice on Thursday, January 23.

“Rice shoots the ball extremely well and they’ll put a lot of pressure on us defensively,” coach Terry said. “We know we need to try to guard as hard as we possibly can. We need to play tough and scrappy. We can’t give up transition baskets. We have a focal point of knowing we have to get back and get on defense.”

UTEP (11-8, 2-4 Conference USA) is coming off a split against UTSA. The Miners came back from a 24-point deficit to rally for an 80-77 overtime victory on Jan. 15, while the Roadrunners almost blew another big lead, this time by 23 points, but held off UTEP’s 17-2 run to come out on top, 86-70, on Saturday afternoon in San Antonio.

UTEP has lost its last 19 road games, as the Miners last won on March 3, 2018 at North Texas. UTEP will take on the Mean Green in Denton on Jan. 25.

Rice (9-11, 1-6 C-USA) has fell in its last three games, as the most recent was a 79-59 loss at North Texas on Jan. 20. The Owls previously lost at Southern Miss (81-68) on Jan. 18 and at LA Tech (72-56) on Jan. 16.

The Owls’ lone C-USA win came at home against FIU on Jan. 11, during a 92-78 stomping of the Panthers. Rice has last seven of its last eight contests after starting the season 8-4.

Despite its recent setbacks, second-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry knows not to look past Rice.

Last season, the Miners and Owls split their two contests – both played in the Haskins Center. The first meeting was on Jan. 12, 2019 as Jordan Lathon connected on a buzzer-beater during a 65-64 triumph. UTEP was down by as many as 17 points in that contest. The Owls got their revenge in the next meeting, rallying past the Miners, 85-81 in double overtime, despite Lathon’s career highs in points (32) and rebounds (18).

UTEP leads the all-time series, 24-13, while winning 20 of the last 26 meetings. The Miners are 5-2 against the Owls at Tudor Fieldhouse. The Miners last played there on March 1, 2018 with the Owls coming out on top, 76-70.

UTEP has continued its solid free-throw shooting during the last four games. The Miners are hitting 85.7 percent (84-98) during that stretch.

Overall, the Miners are ranked second in C-USA and 23rd nationally with their 76.6 percent shooting at the line, while also ranking no. 2 with 295 made free throws. In six league games, UTEP’s 81.5 percent and 106 made free throws each rank second in conference.

Bryson Williams, who was named the co-C-USA Player of the Week on Jan. 20, is averaging 19.4 points per game, ranking second in C-USA. Williams also ranks second in made field goals (133) and field goal percentage (55.6).

Rice is led by Trey Murphy III, who averages 13.9 points per game. Robert Martin (11.5 ppg), Ako Adams (10.0 ppg) and Drew Peterson (10.0) also average double figures. Peterson leads the Owls at 6.6 boards per game, while the 6-8 guard/forward also paces the squad in assists (63).

The Owls average 72.6 points per game and gives up 75.2. Rice is shooting 42.3 percent from the field and 32.8 from the three-point line.

The Miners and Owls are set to tipoff at 6 p.m. MT in Tudor Fieldhouse. “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher will call the action on 600 ESPN El Paso, while the Miners and Owls will be streamed on ESPN+.

C-USA Announces UTEP’s Bryson Williams C-USA Co-Player of the Week

DALLAS – UTEP redshirt junior Bryson Williams averaged 27.5 points per game 8.5 boards per contest, as Conference USA announced the forward as the men’s co-Player of the Week presented by Top of the World Monday afternoon.

Williams scored a career-high 34 points on 13-of-23 shooting and a 6-for-6 effort from the free-throw line during UTEP’s historic 24-point comeback against UTSA on Jan. 15. The Miners rallied to win, 80-77 in overtime.

The Fresno, California product also added 10 boards for his fourth career double-double in a UTEP uniform and seventh overall in his collegiate career. Williams scored 20 points in the second half, while adding four in the overtime period. Williams added two steals and hit a pair of treys in the process.

Overall, Williams hit 53.7 percent (22-41) of his field goals, while adding an 8-for-10 effort from the free-throw line.

On Saturday, Williams led the Miners with 21 points at UTSA, while grabbing seven boards and blocking two shots. The Miners were down as many as 23 points, but rallied with a 17-2 run to get within six points with just over seven minutes remaining.

UTEP will continue its road swing with contests at Rice (Jan. 23) and at North Texas (Jan. 25). The Miners and Owls will tipoff at 6 p.m. MT, while the Mean Green contest will start at 4 p.m. MT.

Both contests can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling the action, while both games will be streamed on ESPN+.

UTEP to host UTSA, nation’s second-leading scorer Wednesday Night

After coming off a tough loss to LA Tech, the UTEP men’s basketball team will be put to the test when it hosts upstart UTSA on Wednesday, January 15. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in the Haskins Center.

Miners (10-7, 1-3 Conference USA) lost their first home game on Jan. 11, and are 2-6 in their last eight contests. The Roadrunners (8-9, 2-2 C-USA), after an 0-5 start, are 8-4 in their last 12 games.

UTSA junior guard Jhivvan Jackson averages 25.8 points per game, ranking second in the nation. The Roadrunners are coming off a pair of victories in league action after an 0-2 start at Florida Atlantic and FIU. Jackson, after scoring only eight points at FAU, rebounded with 31 points at FIU. He then followed that effort with a 37-point performance against LA Tech as UTSA chalked up its first conference win.

The Roadrunners made a program-record 18 three-pointers against the Bulldogs. UTSA recently downed Southern Miss, 80-70, behind Jackson’s 23 points and fellow junior guard Keaton Wallace’s 16 points.

The Miners, after taking a 61-54 lead at the 3:19 mark, went scoreless the rest of the way and allowed LA Tech to rally behind a 10-0 run to a 64-61 win last Saturday night.

Bryson Williams tallied 17 points, while Jordan Lathon led the Miners with nine rebounds. UTEP, after shooting 34-fo-37 from the free-throw line during a 76-64 victory against Southern Miss, produced another solid night at the charity stripe, hitting 20-of-23 from line against the Bulldogs. Overall, the Miners are shooting 76.4 percent from the line, ranking second in C-USA and 27th nationally.

UTEP boasts one of the better defenses in the league, allowing 63.4 points per game, while its three-point percent defense (29.4) ranks third in C-USA. The Miners’ defense will be put to the challenge against UTSA’s scoring offense (78.0), which ranks second in the league. The Roadrunners can also produce points from downtown.

UTSA’s 173 made three-pointers ranks first in C-USA and 10th nationally, while its 10.2 three-pointers per game ranks first in the league and 14th in the nation.

Wednesday’s contest will feature “Military Appreciation Night” as tickets are $10 with a valid military ID. Single-game tickets are available by calling (915) 747-5234 or by going online.

Mini plans are available by calling (915) 747-6150.

Fans can listen live on 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher (play-by-play) and former UTEP basketball player Steve Yellen (color analysis) calling the action.

The Miners and Roadrunners will also be streamed on ESPN+ with El Paso Athletics Hall of Famer Duke Keith (play-by-play) and Miner great Leonard Owens (color analysis) on the mic.

UTEP looks to stay hot at LA Tech Saturday

The UTEP women’s basketball team (10-4, 3-0 C-USA) will look to sweep its opening road trip of league play when it squares off at LA Tech (8-5, 0-2 C-USA) at 1 p.m. MT/2 p.m. CT Saturday.

“They are well coached and do a lot of things well. They’re tough to guard in transition. They are a very dangerous team. They’re certainly a good enough team to make some noise in the conference and beat some people. We’ll have our hands full Saturday afternoon no matter what,” head coach Kevin Baker said.

The Miners are tied atop the league standings with defending regular season and tournament champion Rice at 3-0, with all three of their wins coming by double digits. Most recently UTEP tied the school record for most points in a conference road contest in the 89-72 victory at Southern Miss on Jan. 9.

The Lady Techsters have dropped consecutive games to begin league action, including an 82-73 setback against UTSA on Jan. 9. LA Tech is 7-2 at home, and the Miners are 2-1 on the road.

LA Tech leads the series, 13-6, but the Miners are 6-4 since the Lady Techsters joined Conference USA in 2013-14. LA Tech has a 6-1 advantage in Ruston, with UTEP’s lone road win in the series coming during the 2015-16 season. LA Tech has won back-to-back contests in the series, including toppling the Orange and Blue, 74-64, in El Paso last year.

The Lady Techsters won the first nine meetings between the schools, when both were members of the Western Athletic Conference. 

Eight of UTEP’s victories have been by double figures, including five of at least 20 points. It is the most wins by 20+ points since 2013-14 (nine). The Miners had their largest differential (+45) under head coach Kevin Baker in a 92-47 drubbing of Alcorn State, which tied as the 10th-biggest margin of victory in program history.

They’ve also taken down Florida Atlantic by 31, FIU by 30, Western Michigan by 30 and NM State by 20. Overall UTEP’s scoring margin (+12.6) ranks second in C-USA and 47th in the nation.

The game will be streamed on CUSA.TV (subscription based) and also through the 600 ESPN El Paso website with Brandon Cohn on the call.

UTEP continues Florida road trip at FAU Saturday Afternoon

BOCA RATON – UTEP will take on Florida Atlantic in its second Conference USA contest on Saturday, January 4.

“The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher will call the action on 600 ESPN El Paso, while the Miners and Owls will be streamed on ESPN+. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. MT at RoofClaim.com Arena.

The Miners (9-5, 0-1 C-USA) are still seeking out their first road victory in over a year after coming up short at FIU (69-67) on Jan. 2 in Miami. UTEP’s last road win came on March 3, 2018 at North Texas.

The Owls (9-5, 1-0 C-USA) shut down the nation’s leading scorer Jhivvan Jackson to eight points, while coming up with a 79-64 home victory against UTSA on Thursday evening. FAU improved to 8-1 at home.

UTEP leads the all-time series 5-3 and holds a 3-0 record against Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton. The Miners and Owls last met in the Sunshine State on Feb. 23, 2017, with UTEP winning 60-55.

The two programs first met on Jan. 21, 2016 in El Paso. In last season’s lone meeting, the Owls defeated the Miners, 61-48, on Feb. 7 in El Paso.

Daryl Edwards is coming off his best performance as a Miner as the graduate transfer scored a season-high 20 points on a season-best four three-pointers against FIU on Thursday afternoon.

Edwards’s 15-second half points weren’t enough as the Miners’ rally came up short. UTEP found itself down 36-26 at the half as turnovers (13) and the Panthers’ elite three-point shooting (7-13) set the Miners back. But UTEP adjusted and opened the second half with an 18-8 run that tied the score at 44.

The Miners finally took their first lead at 60-59 after a pair of Nigel Hawkins’s free throws at the 6:16 mark. Edwards followed with a three-point shot that put his squad up three points (63-60) at the 5:19 mark. But FIU outscored UTEP 9-4 down the stretch.

Even though FIU went 1-of-4 from the line with under 20 seconds remaining, the Miners couldn’t capitalize on those misses as a pair of late turnovers halted the rally.

Bryson Williams added 12 points and led the team with nine rebounds, while Deon Stroud played the first half, scoring 10 points and pulling down four boards (all offensive).

Hawkins made his first start of the season at the point guard position, scoring nine points (all in the second half) and adding four assists with four rebounds. Anthony Tarke also broke into the starting five, leading with two steals and pulling down eight rebounds.

UTEP registered a season-high 14 offensive rebounds, while its 16 assists were the most versus a league opponent since Jan. 6, 2018 (17 at LA Tech).

Jailyn Ingram led FAU with 15 points and Michael Forrest came off the bench, chipping in with 13 points during the Owls’ victory over the Roadrunners. Second-year head coach Dusty May’s lineup produced eight players scoring six or more points, while four were in double figures. FAU’s bench tallied 34 points.

Cornelius Taylor paces the squad in points per game (10.8) and assists (27), while Forrest (10.5 ppg) ranks second. The Owls average 37.7 rebounds per game as Madiaw Niang leads the team at 5.0 per game.

Nine players average 2.0 rebounds per game or more, while five of those players average at least over 3.1 boards per contest. FAU averages 11.6 offensive rebounds per game, ranking second in C-USA and 85 nationally. Its plus-4.7 rebounding margin ranks second in the league and 74 nationally.

FAU averages 72.6 points per game and gives up 66.1 points per contest. The Owls are 5-1 in their last six contests after Thursday’s victory.

Gallery+Story: Miners flatten FIU 64-34 to start C-USA Play

UTEP vaulted out to a 16-point cushion (26-10) after the first quarter and never looked back on the way to blasting FIU, 64-34, in the Conference USA opener for both schools at the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.

“That was a great team win and a great team effort,” Baker said. “Any time you can hold a team to in the 30’s for scoring you’ve done a good job. We really guarded to the scouting report well. (Assistant) Coach Anthony Anderson did a great job with the scout, and the team did a great job executing it on the defensive end of things. We were very aggressive on offense. We scored 26 points in the first quarter. That’s the way this team needs to play.”

The Miners (8-4, 1-0 C-USA) allowed the fewest points in a conference game in program history on the way to toppling the Panthers (3-9, 0-1 C-USA) by 30.

Furthermore UTEP moved to 3-0 in league lidlifters under head coach Kevin Baker. ​

The Orange and Blue kept FIU to 24.5 percent (12-49), including a combined 4-29 in a dominating second half. UTEP also controlled the boards (47-36), thanks in part to Ariona Gill’s double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds). Katarina Zec posted a game-high 16 points on 6-9 shooting, including 3-6 from distance.

Ariana Taylor (nine points), Michelle Pruitt (eight points) and Katia Gallegos (seven points, five assists) also got after it.

But the night belonged to the defense, with FIU being held to 13 total points in the second half. UTEP’s pressure defense gave the visitors fits as they committed 23 turnovers. UTEP also dominated in the paint, outscoring the Panthers, 30-12.

It was back-and-forth over the first six minutes of the contest before UTEP found another level. The Miners closed the quarter on a 15-1 run to turn a two-point margin (11-9) into a 16-point cushion (26-10) through 10 minutes of action. It was a defensive-minded second quarter, and UTEP headed into halftime up by 15 ()

Any aspirations of a comeback by the visitors went by the wayside in the third quarter, with UTEP outpacing the Panthers, 20-5 in the frame. That included a 15-0 surge during seven minutes of the frame, effectively putting the contest out of reach.

The Miners will wrap up their opening homestand of Conference USA play when they welcome Florida Atlantic to the Don Haskins Center for a 1 p.m. MT match-up on Saturday.  There will be a post-game clinic. and youth teams (15 or more) can get a $2 ticket rate. Otherwise tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter)@utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

Galley by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post

C-USA announces Bryson Williams as Men’s Basketball Player of the Week

DALLAS – UTEP MBB’s Bryson Williams displayed solid numbers during the Miners’ past two games, as Conference USA announced the redshirt junior the men’s Player of the Week presented by Top of the World Monday afternoon.

Williams averaged 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one block and 1.5 steals, leading UTEP to a 1-1 week with a narrow 59-56 setback at NM State (Dec. 3) and a 57-50 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 7).

The Fresno, Calif., product made 15-of-24 shots (62.5 percent), 4-of-6 three pointers (66.7 percent) and 12-of-13 free throws (.923) in the two games. Williams scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half at NM State.  He became the first UTEP player to score 27 points or more in consecutive games since Randy Culpepper in 2011 (Williams scored 33 points versus East Central on Nov. 27).

Against NM State, Williams was 9-for-13 from the field, 4-for-6 from three-point territory (career highs from outside the arc), and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe while securing nine rebounds. He followed that up with 19 points, including a big three-point play with 2:13 to go, against UAPB.

Williams made 6-of-11 shots and was 7-for-7 at the line with seven rebounds and three steals versus UAPB.

Williams and the Miners will take on North Carolina A&T on Dec. 16 (7 p.m.) in the first round of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.

Video+Story: UTEP stops Weber State 70-51

Senior Jade Rochelle provided a huge spark off the bench by setting career highs in points (15) and steals (six) to help the UTEP women’s basketball team topple Weber State, 70-51, at the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game we played all year and it wasn’t the best game we played all year but wins come in all shapes and sizes,” head coach Kevin Baker said. “You have to take the ugly ones when you have to. We started off the game slow and didn’t have much energy. I’m really proud of the team for fighting through. They toughed it out. You’ve got to give Weber State credit too. They played really well at times.”

Katarina Zec (15 points) and Katia Gallegos (12 points) also reached double figures in the Miners’ (7-1) fourth consecutive win. The Wildcats (1-5) put up quite a fight, but UTEP had enough in the tank to continue its best start to a year during the Kevin Baker era.

UTEP won the boards (42-35), thanks primarily to Ariona Gill’s career-high 14 rebounds. Gill added seven points to flirt with the double-double. But the night was stolen by Rochelle, who was electric in her 21 minutes off the pine. She connected on 6-10 from the floor, in addition to going 3-3 at the free throw line. Her presence was equally felt on the defensive end where she came up one steal shy of cracking UTEP’s top-10 single-game list.

Another factor was the Miners’ defense forcing 31 turnovers, the most by a UTEP opponent in four years. WSU was held to 35.6 percent (16-45) from the floor, including 23.1 percent (3-13) from 3-point range. UTEP connected on 34.4 percent from the floor but made up for it by getting to the free throw line 39 times (24 makes).

The Miners had 12 assists on their 21 field goals made, with freshman Katia Gallegos tallying a game-high five.

Weber State got out to an early 6-3 lead before the Miners scored six straight points to grab a 9-6 advantage with 1:38 to play in the opening quarter. The Wildcats wrapped a 12-4 run around the quarter break to vault out by five (18-13) and prompt a Baker timeout with 6:44 left in the half.

UTEP responded by closing out the quarter on a 16-4 push, including scoring seven straight at one point, to head into the locker room armed with a 29-22 lead. The Miners going 10-12 at the line in the second quarter helped compensate for them shooting 4-15 in the period.

The visitors battled back to get the margin down to one (33-32) at 6:29 of the third quarter, but UTEP didn’t flinch. It answered the run by scoring the game’s next eight points to go out by nine. The Miners continued to pour it on as the quarter wore on, extending their lead to 14 (52-38) heading to the final frame. UTEP didn’t let the visitors get closer than 11 from that point on.

UTEP returns to action at home against No. 20/19 Arizona at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. The first 600 fans in attendance will receive a special UTEP T-shirt. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter)@utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or click here to visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

Video highlights courtesy of UTEP

UTEP derails UC Riverside 63-50 to win season opener

The UTEP women’s basketball team bolted out to a 19-point lead (33-14) at the half on the way to defeating UC Riverside, 63-50, at the Don Haskins Center Saturday evening.

The Miners (1-0) led wire-to-wire against the Highlanders (1-2), who were playing for the third time in five days to start the season.

UTEP took advantage of that fact, turning up the heat defensively with a pressing defense that forced 29 turnovers. Those giveaways led to 25 points.

Katarina Zec tallied 18 points to lead a balanced offensive attack that featured six different players with at least six points. Freshman Katia Gallegos debuted with nine points, five assists, two steals and no turnovers in a squad-high 34 minutes of playing time.

Junior transfer Michelle Pruitt (eight points, 10 rebounds) flirted with a double-double while fellow classmate DejaNae Roebuck came off the bench to score seven points.

UTEP got to the free throw line 30 times and took 60 shots to the Highlanders’ 41 attempts. The discrepancy came from UCR’s 28 turnovers compared to only 15 by the Orange and Blue.

The Miners improved to 3-0 under head coach Kevin Baker in season openers.

“It was a great team win for us and I’m super excited about the way our team played” Baker said. “We pressed for 40 minutes, and that’s not an easy thing to do. I’m really proud of them and hope to grow with this. Our journey began tonight and it was a good way to start, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

UTEP started with a sizzle, bolting out to a 10-0 advantage at the 5:21 mark. The Miners forced six turnovers in the stretch, forcing UCR to call timeout to regroup. The visitors settled down some, but UTEP still carried a 10-point cushion (14-4) through 10 minutes of action.

It was back-and-forth over the first several minutes of the second quarter before the Orange and Blue blitzed the Highlanders with a 9-0 surge to jump ahead by 21 (28-7) with 2:42 to play in the half. UCR finally ended the surge, but the Miners’ margin was still formidable at 19 (33-14) heading into halftime.

UCR opened up the second half on a 10-3 push to trim the UTEP advantage to 12 (36-24) before Zec scored on a backdoor layup. After the Highlanders inched within 11, the Miners peeled off seven straight points to go back out by 18 (44-26) with 2:19 left in the quarter. It remained an 18-point cushion (46-28) after three quarters of action.

The visitors chipped away at UTEP’s lead in the final frame, but the Miners refused to let them get any closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

UTEP will play the first of just two nonconference road contests when it squares off against NM State in the Battle of I-10 in Las Cruces, N.M. on Wednesday. It will be the first of two meetings on the season between the programs, with the Aggies making the return visit to the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 23.

For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter)@utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

UTEP Men’s hoops adds Grad Transfer Daryl Edwards

UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry added veteran presence to the 2019-20 roster by officially announcing guard Daryl Edwards Tuesday afternoon. The 6-foot-3 graduate-student will be eligible to play this season.

“Daryl Edwards is a great addition of a veteran guard who has been a part of winning programs,” Terry said. “We are very excited to welcome Daryl to UTEP and he will be a great fit with our core of returning players.”

Edwards, a native of Fresno, Calif., previously played at LSU the last two seasons. He played in 32 games with 16 starts as a junior during the 2017-18 season.

Edwards scored a career-high 21 points at Alabama on Feb. 13, 2018, on 8-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-3 from three-point range. Edwards’s senior campaign was cut short to nine contests, missing the remainder of the season due to an injury. Edwards tallied a season-high 12 points against Conference USA program LA Tech on Nov. 16, 2018.

Prior to his time as a Tiger in Baton Rouge, Edwards commenced his collegiate career at Northwest Florida State College, where he played for two seasons. The Raiders compiled a 56-11 record during Edwards’s two seasons.

As a freshman (2015-16), Edwards averaged 13.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 45.2 percent from the field, including 33.6 percent from beyond the arc. Edwards filled the stat sheets again during his sophomore season (2016-17), averaging 13.6 points, 3.1 boards and 3.9 assists. Edwards upped his shooting percentage to 48.9 from the field, including 46 percent from downtown. NWF State advanced to the 2017 NJCAA Final Four.

The Miners will open the 2019-20 campaign Nov. 5 against New Mexico Highlands at the Don Haskins Center. UTEP fans will get a chance to witness the new squad Saturday, Oct. 12 (7 p.m.) in a charity exhibition game as the Orange and Blue will battle 2019 national runner-up Texas Tech at the Haskins Center. All proceeds will be donated to a local non-profit supporting the victims of the Aug. 3 tragedy.

Coach Terry also announced a pair of walk-on student-athletes to the program.

Anieus Medrano is a transfer from Bakersfield College. Medrano, a junior entering the 2019-20 season, will have two years of eligibility. The 5-foot-11 guard played in 27 contests, averaging 16.6 points per game during his sophomore season (2018-19), while connecting on 82 percent of his free throws.

Medrano scored a career-high 30 points on 7-of-15 shooting form downtown against LA Valley on Dec. 6, 2018. For his efforts, Medrano was named to the Western State Conference All-Conference team. Medrano is a native of Bakersfield, Calif., and played his high school ball at Liberty High School.

Jules Williamson will be a freshman entering the 2019-20 school year. Williamson played at Aurora East High School in Aurora, Ill., and averaged 25 points per game during the 2018-19 season.

The 6-foot-4 guard was named to the Upstate Eight Conference All-Conference team following his senior campaign, while earning a 2018-19 Beacon-News Boys Basketball All-Area team honorable mention. Williamson was named to the 2017-18 Beacon-News Boys Basketball All-Area second team after averaging 17.0 points per game his junior campaign.

UTEP to Host Rice, Middle Tennessee in C-USA Bonus Play; Discounted Tickets Available

The Conference USA Bonus Play schedule was released on Saturday night, with the UTEP men’s basketball team slated to host Rice on Saturday, February 23 (7 p.m.), and Middle Tennessee on Wednesday, March 6 (TBD).

“We’re excited about C-USA Bonus Play and the opportunity to play two more games in front of our passionate fans,” UTEP coach Rodney Terry said.  “They’ve been tremendous all season long and we’re counting on their continued support as we fight to earn a spot in the C-USA Tournament.  It’s going to be a super competitive final four games and we’ve instituted ‘Bonus Prices’ for ‘Bonus Play’ in the Haskins Center, which will hopefully help us pack the arena!”

In addition, UTEP men’s basketball season ticket holders can receive one (1) free ticket to either of the Miners’ Bonus Play home games by presenting their season ticket at the UTEP Ticket Center Mesa Street location.

The Miners will also play road games at Charlotte on Sunday, March 3 (TBD), and at Middle Tennessee on Saturday, March 9 (TBD) as they continue to battle for a spot in the 2019 Air Force Reserve C-USA Basketball Championships Presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star.  The 2019 C-USA Championships will be held March 13-16 in Frisco.

The home and away matchups in Bonus Play were determined by a preset formula.

UTEP closed out the first 14 games of the 18-game C-USA schedule with a 3-11 record.  The Miners are in 13th place in the league standings.

Under the new Bonus Play model, UTEP is locked into the 11-14 group.  Should the Miners earn a bid to the C-USA Championship, they would be seeded either 11th or 12th.  The top 12 teams in the final 18-game standings will advance to the event.

The Miners are a combined 2-1 versus the other three teams (Charlotte, Middle Tennessee, Rice) in their grouping this season.  UTEP edged Rice, 65-64, on Jordan Lathon’s buzzer beater on January 12 in El Paso, fell at Middle Tennessee, 75-72, on January 19 and knocked off Charlotte in the Haskins Center, 57-53, on January 26.

Television information and remaining game times for C-USA Bonus Play games will be announced on Sunday.

All seats in the Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper sections are half-price for the Miners’ two C-USA Bonus Play home games.  Gold prices for the two games are $14 (regularly $28), Silver are $12 (regularly $24), Bronze are $10 (regularly $20) and Copper are $8 (regularly $16).  Upper reserved prices remain $8.

Tickets will go on sale Monday at the UTEP Ticket Center (2901 North Mesa), or by calling (915) 747-5234.  Tickets will also be available at the UTEP Eastside Ticket Center location (1452 N. Zaragoza Suite A-500) or online. 

Gallery+Story: UTEP Downs Florida International 85-75

Four Miners hit double figures as freshman Nigel Hawkins led the way with 20 points. Senior Paul Thomas, freshman Jordan Lathon and sophomore Evan Gilyard each tallied 16 points and UTEP shot over 50 percent in the second half to down FIU, 85-75, in front of 5,094 rowdy fans in the Haskins Center Saturday night.

“Give the guys a lot of credit,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “We knew the other night that was one of maybe three games we had to fight to get the win. We were a little jumpy to start the game and we knew they would start the game with some pressure, so once we settled into the game we were able to attack up the floor. Our guys did a much better job of cleaning that up as the game went on.”

After the Panthers (14-11, 5-7 Conference USA) took a 12-point lead in the first half, the Miners (8-15, 3-9 C-USA) used a 12-0 run to tie the game and ended the first half on a 20-4 run to go up four points (37-33) at the half. The Miners took their first lead with 46 seconds left in the half and never looked back.

The Panthers went with a full-court press early, but the Miners were able to break their press and score their most points at home in a league contest.

Hawkins shot 7-for-11 from the field, including a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Gilyard went 6-of-8 from the free-throw line, while Lathon connected on a career-high four three pointers on four attempts. Thomas shot 6-for-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from downtown.

The strong end to the first period carried over into the second. The Miners largest lead was 16 points (60-44) at the 12:31 mark after a Hawkins’s jumper. FIU cut the lead to six points on multiple occasions, but the Miners kept making buckets.

Thomas scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half on 5-of-6 shooting, while Hawkins added 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field during the second stanza.

“It stemmed from our defensive intensity, how we ended the first half on a good run. I think we picked up from that intensity and energy from the first half and carried over into the second,” Thomas said. “It’s something we have struggled with all season but we fought through it. I’m proud of our guys.”

At the one point going back to the end of the first half, UTEP had hit seven of its last eight three-point attempts, while starting the second half by making 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. Thomas connected on two of those treys. After a pair of Antonio Daye Jr. free throws to get FIU within two points (37-35) at the 19:17 mark, Thomas answered with back-to-back threes as his squad took an eight-point lead (43-35) at the 18:21 mark.

Lathon gave UTEP its biggest lead at time when he converted a layup at the 17:35 mark, making the score 45-35.

Efe Odigie tallied 15 boards as UTEP outrebounded FIU, 46-28. The Miners also connected on 75.0 percent (21-28) of their free throws and recorded 13 offensive rebounds that helped lead to 11-second chance points.

Kobe Magee made his first start since Nov. 9 at NM State. Magee chipped in with four points, three rebounds in 25 minutes of action and tied Lathon for the team lead with three assists. Kaosi Ezeagu also made his second start of his career and first since Nov. 14 at Arizona. Ezeagu played 12 minutes and scored four points with seven rebounds.

Thomas also registered nine rebounds before fouling out, while Lathon also fouled out, but was walking up and down the bench, cheering on his teammates and encouraging the fans to do the same.

FIU started the first half, connecting on 4-of-8 from three-point range and took a 29-17 lead on a Michael Douglas trey at the 5:25 mark. Devon Andrews led the Panthers with nine points in the first period.

The fighting Miners responded with a 12-0 run to tie the game 29-29 as Lathon and Hawkins combined for all the points. Hawkins started the run with a dunk, while Lathon connected on two of his three first half three pointers to get Miner nation on their feet in the Haskins Center.

After FIU took a 33-31 lead on an Andrews’s jumper, Evan Gilyard tied the game and then Hawkins gave his squad its first lead (35-33) of the game after he converted a layup on a fast break. Gilyard followed with a reverse, left-handed layup to put UTEP up 37-33.

Lathon led the half with 11 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting (3-3 on threes) and Hawkins tallied 10 points that included a 4-for-4 effort from the charity stripe.

Overall for FIU, Andrews paced his squad with 26 points, while Daye Jr. scored 14. Brian Beard Jr., the Panthers’ leading scorer, was held to just four points on 1-of-10 shooting and fouled out of the contest.

Up next,UTEP will play at LA Tech on Feb. 14 (5:30 p.m. MT) and at Southern Miss on Saturday night (1 p.m. MT).

Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald-Post

Shooting Woes Sting Miners as WKU Tops UTEP 76-59

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Nigel Hawkins produced another solid road effort, leading UTEP with 17 points and five rebounds, while Evan Gilyard scored 16 points. But WKU took advantage of the Miners’ overall poor shooting and came out with a 76-59 victory on Saturday night at E.A Diddle Arena.

“We had opportunities in the second half,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “But we didn’t guard quite as well as we did in the first half.We cut it to a two-possession game and had opportunities to make it a game down the stretch, but we didn’t get meaningful stops when we had to and then we didn’t come down and finished on offense.

Charles Bassey (17 points, 12 rebounds) registered his Conference USA-leading 11th double-double to lead the Hilltoppers (13-10, 6-4 C-USA), while the Miners (7-14, 2-8 C-USA) shot only 36.1 percent from the field.

UTEP got within two points (43-41) after Hawkins converted a layup on a fast break early in the second period. However, WKU went on a 9-0 run to go up 52-41 after a Josh Anderson jumper at the 12:22 mark.

The Miners fought back to get within four points (54-50) on a Hawkins three with 8:42 remaining in the contest.

After cutting the deficit to four points, WKU outscored UTEP 22-9 to end the game.

Efe Odigie scored eight points and tallied four rebounds, while Kobe Magee chipped in with eight points on a pair of three-point buckets, including one that got the Miner within seven points (63-57) with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Jordan Lathon and Magee each recorded three assists. Lathon added four points, three rebounds and two blocks.

Gilyard left the contest with an injury, but returned to finish the contest with the Miners down 11 points (52-41). He returned at about the 10 minutes left in the game and scored six consecutive points. Gilyard connected on three free throws and hit a three-point basket to make the count 54-47 at the 9:40 mark.

The Miners kept the turnovers (11) minimal, while blocking five shots and hitting on 81.8 percent of their free throws.

Anderson led WKU with 18 points, while Jared Savage tallied 14 points. The Hilltoppers outrebounded the Miners, 41-32, including 11 on the offensive side that led to 19 second-chance points.

During the first half, the Miners took a 20-18 lead after Hawkins converted on a pair of free throws with over seven minutes remaining in the half. WKU, however, answered with a 14-2 run to take 32-22 lead. Anderson accounted for 12 of those points, while Bassey made a jumper in the paint.

Again, as they have all season, the Miners answered WKU’s run with a run of their own led by Gilyard. The Miners went on a 9-2 run to close the half as Gilyard accounted for four of the points. Hawkins started the run on a made free throw at the 3:15 mark. Ountae Campbell made jumper in the paint and Magee’s jumper with 31 seconds remaining got his squad back within three points (34-31) heading into the locker room.

Lamonte Bearden attempted a jumper, but Kaosi Ezeagu recorded his second blocked shot to end the half.

The Miners played a clean first half in terms of turnovers, only committing four.

Up next, UTEP will host Florida Atlantic on Thursday, Feb. 7 with tipoff starting at 7 p.m. in the Haskins Center.  The Miners will then host FIU on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Tickets, starting at $8, are available by calling (915) 747-5234. Student tickets are available online.

Marshall Outlasts UTEP at the Don 63-60

Junior Zuzanna Puc produced a double-double (23 points, career-high 14 boards) while redshirt-junior Neidy Ocuane (career-high 14 points) and junior Katarina Zec (12 points) also got going on offense but short-handed UTEP was clipped by Marshall, 63-60, inside the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of our team,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “They’ve had every bit of adversity that you can have, but they keep working hard and coming back to the gym with a good attitude. They keep giving themselves chances like we did tonight.”

The Miners (4-17, 1-7 C-USA), who dressed seven players, led for 28 minutes. They were up by 11 (45-34) at the break after matching their highest scoring half of the season. To their credit the Thundering Herd (12-9, 6-2 C-USA) struck back, on the way to leading by seven (57-50) with six minutes to go. UTEP climbed back to within one (61-60), but Zec’s jumper from inside the free-throw line in the waning seconds spun out. After a foul, Marshall’s Khadaijia Brooks connected on both free throws. UTEP called timeout to advance the ball, but Jordan Alexander’s desperation 3-pointer to tie it came up short.

UTEP continued to be plagued by injuries, suiting up only seven players. Ariona Gill logged 10 minutes in her first action after missing eight straight games to an injury, pitching in two points and three helpers. Every other Miner played at least 20 minutes, with Puc (career-high 39 minutes), Zec (38 minutes) and Ocuane (career-high tying 37 minutes) securing the most time.

The Miners moved the ball effectively, recording 17 assists on their 22 made field goals. They also took care of it well, turning it over just nine times. UTEP held the Thundering Herd to 37.7 percent from the floor, including 26.7 percent (8-30) from distance. The Miners shot extremely well in the first half, connecting on 51.5 percent (17-33). They cooled off after the break, going 5-30 (16.7 percent) during the second half.

UTEP came out firing on all cylinders, scoring on its first three possessions to grab an early 7-5 advantage. After a mini push by the Thundering Herd that gave them a 10-9 edge, the Miners countered by unleashing an 11-3 run over the next four minutes to lead by seven (20-13) with 2:56 to play in the period. UTEP continued to knock down shots, on the way to leading by 11 (29-18) through 10 minutes of action. Puc was instrumental in the frame, tying for the second-most points (14) by a Miner in a quarter in program history.

It was a back-and-forth second quarter, with UTEP extending the margin to as many on 14 on a pair of occasions. Brooks hit a triple inside 30 seconds to play in the frame, allowing MU to keep the deficit at 11 (45-34) heading to the second half It was at that point perhaps fatigue became a factor, with the Thundering Herd outscoring the Orange and Blue, 29-15, over the final 20 minutes of the contest.

Even with the shots not going down in the second half, UTEP’s defense kept it in the game. The Miners limited the Thundering Herd to just two points, the aforementioned free throws by Brooks, in the final 3:30 of the contest.

UTEP will wrap up its two-game homestand when it plays host to WKU at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. There will be a special presentation at halftime, with the first team in program history (1974-75) being recognized.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

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Marshall Shoots Past UTEP 91-86

HUNTINGTON, W.V. – Nigel Hawkins (22 points), Efe Odigie (22 points), Jordan Lathon (15 points) and Kaosi Ezeagu (four points) combined for a UTEP freshman record 63 points, but Marshall senior Jon Elmore scored a career-high 44 points as the Thundering Herd (13-9, 6-3 Conference USA) pulled away from UTEP (7-13, 2-7 C-USA), 91-86, on Thursday night in the Henderson Center.

“Our young guys performed hard and went up against some experience; experienced perimeter players for that matter,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “We’ve played three straight games when they’ve had seniors on the floor and tonight we let one that’s really, really good [Jon Elmore] – and will have his jersey hanging in the rafters – got off to a great start. He’s a really good player and played great tonight.”

Elmore scored 26 of his 44 during the second half. He went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line during the second period.

Odigie added his ninth double-double on a career-high 20 rebounds. Odigie and Hawkins each led the Miners in points (22), while Hawkins set a career-high with four steals and pulled down eight rebounds.

After being tied at 37-37 at halftime, Marshall took a 12-point lead (58-46), its biggest of the game, after Rondale Watson connected on a pair of free throws at the 14:25 mark.

The Miners would fight back as they have all season. The lead would be chipped away as UTEP got back to within five points (58-53) when Lathon made a layup. After another pair of seven-point deficits, the Miners climbed back to take a 65-64 lead after a pair of made Evan Gilyard free throws at the 8:57 mark.

After the Thundering Herb built an 85-78 lead with 3:47 remaining in the contest, UTEP got within three points two times down the stretch. Paul Thomas converted a layup, making the score 85-82 with 1:59 remaining in the game, while Odigie made layup with five seconds left to get within a trio of points again (89-86). But Elmore and C.J. Burks hit key free throws to seal the victory.

Thomas shot the ball well, scoring 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including going 3-for-4 from downtown. Ezeagu added three rebounds and two blocked shots.

During the first half, The Miners largest lead was a 31-23 score when Ezeagu converted a layup at the 3:43 mark. Marshall and UTEP would trade buckets during the next few minutes. The Thundering Herd made a pair of baskets to make the score 31-27, but a Hawkins three-pointer made it a seven-point lead (34-27). Jarrod West answered Hawkins’s three with one of his own, but Thomas answered his with second of the half to make the count 37-30.

However, Marshall would end the half on a 7-0 run to tie the score (37-37), heading into the locker room. Lathon finished with four rebounds and a blocked shot, while going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.

Overall, the Miners shot the best from the free-throw all season, going 16-for-17 (94.1 percent). Marshall shot 85.7 percent (18-21) from the free-throw line.

Burks added 18 points, while Jannson Williams chipped in with 11 points.

Up next, UTEP will continue its road trip with a contest at WKU on Saturday, Feb. 2. The Miners and Hilltoppers will tipoff at 5:30 p.m. MT/6:30 CT in Bowling Green, Ky.

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