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Home | Tag Archives: southern miss

Tag Archives: southern miss

UTEP Run-Rules Southern Miss in Game One; Falls in Second Contest

Kaitlin Ryder and Erika Harrawood were game one heroes for a second consecutive week as UTEP took care of Southern Miss, 12-2 (5) in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Ryder registered a career-high five RBI, while Harrawood (3-7) chalked up her first complete-game victory in her career and second triumph in her hometown. Harrawood won her first game in El Paso last Saturday against Middle Tennessee.

“[Harrawood] has done a tremendous job this year,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “I know we haven’t necessarily got the wins that she deserved, but all year she’s just kept improving. She’s been solid and just her presence on the mound is exactly want you want in a pitcher. She’s calm, collective and knows what she has to do. It’s not flashy, but she does her job.”

The Orange and Blue also tallied season highs in runs (12) and hits (15).

“We had a lot of clutch hits from a lot of different people,” Echo-Hawk said. “Even that pinch hit from Macey Brown was big; she’s been kind of clutch for us lately. It’s nice to know that they can handle that pressure.”

The Golden Eagles (15-15, 2-6 Conference USA) rebounded to win game two, 6-2. But the Miners (8-20, 3-5 C-USA) still hold a one-game lead in the C-USA West Division.

The series finale is Sunday with the first pitch slated for 11 a.m.

UTEP 12, Southern Miss 2 (5)
The Miners jumped on the Golden Eagles in the second inning, crossing the dish four times. Courtney Clayton put her squad on the board first with a RBI single to left. Cortney Smith scored run after she singled to left with one out. Ryder, with bases juiced, was hit by a pitch to earn a RBI the hard way, plating Mallorie Cross, who walked to reach base. Kiki Pepi put the Miners up 4-0 with a two-run single through the right side that scored Ariel Blair and Clayton.

Southern Miss answered with a pair of runs in the third, but Harrawood kept its bats in check the rest of the way.

Harrawood started strong, as she retired eight of the first nine batters. The tenth batter, Lauren Holifield, put her team on the board with a two-run single. Harrawood only allowed three hits the rest of the way. Harrawood threw all 5.0 frames, allowing only five hits and striking out three.

More run support came Harrawood’s way as the Miners tacked on five more runs in the third, led by two RBI from Ryder and one each from Brown, Cross and Pepi. Brown delivered her fourth RBI in her third pinch-hit situation (3-for-3) the last few weeks.

With UTEP up 9-2 in the fourth, Cross singled in Smith for the run-rule to come into effect. Ryder then punched in a few insurance runs on a double to left center, paving the way for Blair and Lindsey Sokoloski to cross the dish.

Chase Nelson led off the fifth by reaching on an error and Samantha Reynolds reached on an infield single, but Harrawood struck out Arille Pollock on a full-count pitch for the first out. Holifield reached on a fielder’s choice as Nelson rounded second only to be called out on an unassisted out by third baseman Pepi. Tori Dew ended the contest by flying out to center.

Clayton went 2-for-3 for her 10th multi-hit game of the season and no. 52 for her career. Three Miners tied their career highs in hits as Ryder went 3-for-3, Pepi notched a 3-for-4 outing and tallied three RBI, and Smith was a perfect 3-for-3 while setting her career high with three runs. Cross finished with a career high in RBI (two) and runs scored (two).

UTEP 2, Southern Miss 6
UTEP’s nemesis Samantha Robles pitched a complete game, while defeating the Miners for the fourth time in four starts. Robles tallied three wins against UTEP in 2016 (two in the regular season and one in the C-USA Tournament), while earning a save in game one of the regular season series in Hattiesburg.

The Miners took an early 1-0 advantage on Robles in the second on a Cross sacrifice fly to left that plated Hope Moreno.

But the Golden Eagles scored a trio of runs the next frame as Eva Scott led off with a walk and Nelson singled to third, advancing Scott to third base. Both runners would steal bases while Scott’s base snag tied the game 1-1. Holifield gave Southern Miss the go-ahead lead on a sac-fly to center and Dew reached first on an error by Clayton, also paving the way for Ciarra Cherry to score, who walked earlier in the inning.

UTEP got within a run in the third on a Pepi RBI double that scored Ryder. But the Golden Eagles put up two runs in the sixth and another run in the seventh to seal the victory.

Devyn Cretz (5-6) started the game, throwing 3.0 frames with two earned runs, while Kaitlin Fifield hurled 4.0 innings with one earned run.

Clayton, Ryder, Pepi, Moreno, Smith and Sokoloski registered all six hits for the Miners.

UTEP Softball Continues Home Slate as it Hosts Southern Miss

After its series win against Middle Tennessee, the UTEP softball team will host Conference USA West Division foe Southern Miss March 25-26. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. to begin Saturday’s doubleheader, while Sunday’s contest will start at 11 a.m. at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Miners (7-19, 2-4 C-USA), after a slow start in league action, rebounded last weekend as they won two of three games against Middle Tennessee at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. It’s the second season in a row in which the Miners will host back-to-back conference weekends. Last season, UTEP split its six contests, losing three to UAB, but coming back strong with a sweep against North Texas to clinch a spot in the C-USA Tournament.

“It’s always nice to be at home no matter if it’s the beginning, middle or end of the season, we just feel more comfortable and confident playing at home,” fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said.

UTEP is 19-8 in C-USA contests at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex since 2015 and 24-15 since 2014.

The Golden Eagles (14-14, 1-5 C-USA) halted a four-game losing streak after edging South Alabama, 2-1, on March 22 in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles have lost six of the last nine games, which includes being swept against LA Tech March 18-19 and losing two of three at UAB March 11-12.

It’s a big series for both squads as each stand in the C-USA West Division. Last season, Southern Miss finished 14-10 to earn the no. 3 seed in the C-USA Tournament. UTEP was a no. 6 seed with a 13-11 league record.

“You know, it’s a big series for a lot of different reasons,” Echo-Hawk said. “If you look at our record against them last season, they kind of had our number and I think that’s a motivational factor. It’s also one of those series where the further you get into conference play, it’s nice to have those wins against teams in our division, and actually matter as far as seeding goes [for the C-USA Tournament]. We’re very similar with our records, so it’s important to win at least two of the three to win the weekend.”

Last season the two programs met four times in five days. Southern Miss won three contests in Hattiesburg, 3-0, 3-0 and 6-4 May 7-8. The two squads met again in the C-USA Tournament in Denton on May 11, with the Golden Eagles topping the Miners, 10-4.

UTEP will continue its home stretch when I-10 rival NM State heads to the Sun City for a doubleheader onMarch 28, starting at 5 p.m.

SCOUTING SOUTHERN MISS

The Golden Eagles are heading to the Helen of Troy this weekend with an overall record of 14-14. Southern Miss has tallied one conference win, which came against UAB, 10-4, on March 12. Last weekend they fell short all three games of the series to LA Tech, with game two going into 14 innings and finally ending at a 4-2 loss.

As a team, the Golden Eagles are hitting a total of .239 to rank 10th in Conference USA. Senior Lauren Holifield leading the line up with a .291 average, five home runs and 14 RBI. The pitching staff has totaled an ERA of 2.41 to rank fourth in C-USA. Junior Kim Crowson is producing the most success, as she has fashioned a 1.50 ERA to rank third in C-USA.

Crowson leads the staff in wins (six) and strikeouts (40) – ranks no. 12 in Ks in C-USA. Southern Miss ranks last in C-USA in runs (92), slugging (.328), home runs (12) and total bases (238). The Southern Miss pitching staff, however, ranks third in opposing batting average (.240) and fifth in least hits allowed (185).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. SOUTHERN MISS

UTEP is 15-17-1 all-time versus Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles have won the last four contests, which included a sweep in Hattiesburg last season and a second-round victory at the Conference USA Tournament on May 11.

UTEP and Southern Miss have spit the last six contests at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Golden Eagles took two of three contests in 2014, while the Miners returned the favor and won the series 2-1 in 2015. Southern Miss is 7-12 all-time at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

LAST WEEK

UTEP defeated Middle Tennessee twice during the March 18-19 series. The Miners won game one, 7-6, behind Kaitlin Ryder’s three-run home run and Erika Harrawood’s solid performance in the circle. Harrawood threw 6.1 innings, walked none, and struck out four batters. UTEP got tripped up in game two, but came back to win the series with a 10-7 win in weekend finale.

Middle Tennessee went up 5-0 in the first, but UTEP chipped away and scored 10 unanswered run the first four frames.

Courtney Clayton, Pamala Baber and Cortney Smith each recorded a pair of RBI in the series clinching victory. After Middle Tennessee went up 5-0 in the first frame, Devyn Cretz (4.0 IP) and Kaitlin Fifield (2.2 IP) kept the Blue Raiders’ bats in check, allowing only two runs on seven hits the next six innings. Cretz earned the win, while Fifield recorded her second save of the season.

COMEBACK KIDS

UTEP rallied from a 5-0 deficit on Sunday to defeat Middle Tennessee 10-7. The March 19 rally tied as the second-biggest come-from-behind victory in a conference game in program history, while it’s tied for fifth largest comeback in any contest in school history. UTEP rallied from 5-0 down to Colorado State after the top first to win 9-8 on Feb. 28, 2015 in Tucson, Ariz.

Earlier that season, the Miners scored eight runs in the top seventh to defeat Portland State, 8-5, in Las Vegas, Nev. on Feb. 13, 2015. The largest conference rally came against Southern Miss on March 10, 2012 in El Paso. The Miners were down 7-0 heading to the bottom first and rallied to win 13-12.

MOST RUNS, RBI & HITS COMBINED FOR IN A C-USA GAME

On March 19 UTEP and Middle Tennessee combined for the most runs (17), RBI (17) and hits (25) during a Conference USA only game up to this point of the season. The Miners banged out 13 hits during the 10-7 victory. The Miner and Blue Raiders also combined for the most stolen bases (five) during a conference only game.

GAME 3 RUNS & HITS VS. MT

UTEP clinched the series against Middle Tennessee with a 10-7 victory on March 19. The Miners tied their season highs in hits (13) and runs (10) during the victory. UTEP defeated Siena 10-2 (5) on Feb. 24, while connecting on 13 hits at New Mexico during a 7-4 triumph on March 8.

MOST RUNS/HITS DURING ECHO-HAWK ERA

During the Tobin Echo-Hawk era, the Miners’ single-game high is 17 hits on Feb. 11, 2016 against Incarnate Word, while the most runs scored was a 16-run output against Mount St. Mary’s on March 5, 2016. The hits (17) are ranked tied eighth in program history, while the runs scored is tied ninth.

OWNING MT

With UTEP’s 2-1 series win against Middle Tennessee on March 19, the Miners improved to 10-2 against the Blue Raiders all-time. UTEP is also 8-1 all-time versus MT at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex. The Miners, in 12 games played against the Blue Raiders, are hitting .394 (137-348) with 18 long balls. UTEP has outscored MT 88-51 during that span.

BAT WOMEN

After hitting .226 the first nine games of the season, the UTEP bats have caught fire, hitting .323 (153-473) during the last 17 contests. The Miners are currently ranked fifth in Conference USA with a .292 overall batting average (204-699). Marshall leads the league with a .317 batting average, while FIU (.312), UTSA (.303) and LA Tech (.299) round out the list. UTEP’s 204 hits rank sixth. FIU leads the league with 263 knocks.

DIGGING OUT TRIPLES

UTEP tallied its sixth triple of 2017 in game two against Middle Tennessee. UTEP is ranked tied fourth with Charlotte in Conference USA with six three-baggers. LA Tech leads the pack with 10, while UTSA and Marshall ranks tied second with seven apiece.

TOUGH OUT

UTEP has struck out 103 times in 699 at bats to rank ninth in Conference USA. Three Miners have kept their Ks low as Lindsey Sokoloski has whiffed only once in 75 at bats to rank first in C-USA and eighth nationally in toughest to strikeout. Courtney Clayton has struck out twice in 89 at bats to rank second in C-USA and 48th nationally.

Taylor Sargent has left the plate looking for swinging five times in 73 at bats to rank fifth in C-USA and tied no. 140 in the nation.

ROUGH RYDER

Kaitlin Ryder came up with a big weekend, producing six RBI and hitting .444 (4-9) during the series win against Middle Tennessee. During UTEP’s game one victory over the Blue Raiders, Ryder connected on her second home run of the season, a three-run shot over left in the second inning that put the Miners up 4-0.

Ryder is hitting .409 (9-22) with seven RBI the last seven contests. Overall, the junior is hitting .304 with two dingers and 13 RBI.

GAME SAVER

Kaitlin Fifield recorded her second save of 2017 after recording one against Middle Tennessee on March 19 in 2.2 innings of work. Fifield entered the contest with bases loaded and one out in the fifth with the Miners leading 10-5. The Blue Raiders only crossed the dish twice to get within three runs while Fifield only allowed one hit and walked no batters the next 2.0 innings.

Fifield recorded her first save of the season against Utah State on Feb. 24. Fifield is ranked tied first with five other players in Conference USA and tied no. 23 nationally. Fifield has four saves in her career to rank tied second on the program’s all-time saves’ list with four other players.

North Texas Completes Sweep of UTEP 9-1

DENTON, Texas – Hope Moreno tied her career high in hits (3-for-3), but North Texas jumped on UTEP early and never looked back to complete the Conference USA opening sweep, 9-1 (6), on a cold Sunday afternoon at Lovelace Stadium

The Miners (5-18, 0-3 C-USA) will start winless in league play for a second consecutive season, while the Mean Green (14-9, 3-0 C-USA) reversed their fortunes from last season to start conference action undefeated.

Hope Moreno - UTEP
Hope Moreno – UTEP

UTEP started 0-3 last season after being swept at Marshall, but would go on to win its next eight C-USA games.

North Texas scored four runs in the first and two more the following frame. In the first, Lacy Gregory connected on a two-run home run on a 2-0 pitch, while an error in deep left field by Kaitlin Ryder with two outs paved the way for two runs to score. In the second inning, Lacey Gregory and Harley Parella each registered an RBI.

UTEP would load the bases in back-to-back innings, but couldn’t come up with clutch hits.

Bases were juiced with one out in the fifth, when Hope Moreno singled, Ryder reached on a fielder’s choice (Moreno safe at second on an error) and Pamala Baber drew a full-count walk. But Macey Brown hit into a double play to end the rally.

In the sixth, with two outs, Kiki Pepi walked on a 3-1 pitch and Cortney Smith singled to left. Moreno came up with her third hit of the contest, plating Pepi for the Miners’ only run on the day. Ryder also drew a walk to load the bases. Mallorie Cross then flied out to center to end another rally.

The Mean Green loaded the bases in the sixth as the game-winning run crossed on a walk. UTEP pitchers combined for seven walks to no strikeouts.

Up Next

UTEP will host its first home contests of 2017 as C-USA foe Middle Tennessee will make its way to the Sun City for a March 18-19 three-game set. The Miners will then host league opponent Southern Miss March 25-26

and I-10 rival NM State in a doubleheader March 28 at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

Miners’ Harris, Artis Not Enough Against Southern Miss; Eagles down UTEP 73-65

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – UTEP’s 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 on Saturday afternoon in Hattiesburg.

The Golden Eagles (5-10, 2-1 C-USA) have strung together consecutive wins following a nine-game losing streak.  UTEP (2-13, 0-3 C-USA) has lost 12 straight games.

“It kind of seems right now that every possession is so huge and every missed opportunity is even bigger,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We had chances in the second half.  It seems like if you miss a free throw, it’s a big deal.  You come down and try to enter into offense and you throw it away, it’s a big deal.  If you don’t block out on a free throw, it’s a big deal.  Every possession is so huge for our team because we are really lacking playmakers right now.  We don’t have enough guys that can go get that second chance offensive board, we don’t have enough guys that can go make plays off the dribble and go get fouled.”

The Miners couldn’t get to the line in the first half.  In the second half they went to the line 19 times, making 12, and held Southern Miss to 39.3 percent shooting.  That was good enough to play the Golden Eagles to a 34-34 draw, but not enough to carve into a 39-31 halftime deficit.

UTEP 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.

The duo shot a combined 19-for-41 from the field, 4-for-19 from three-point range and 7-for-12 from the line as Harris scored a career-high 26 points, and Artis added 23 points, 13 rebounds and four steals.

“I applaud the fact that Dominic and Omega played very hard today,” Floyd said.  “We had a couple of possessions that they’d like to have back, a turnover here, a turnover there, a couple of missed free throws here and there.  But they’re not perfect, they’re going to make a mistake or two.”

The rest of the Miners combined for five field goals.

“Just look at the boxes from the last couple of games,” Floyd said.  “We don’t have enough guys that can go score for us right now.  We had four guys score over in our last ballgame [at LA Tech Thursday] and didn’t have a whole lot more here today.”

The Miners went on a 9-2 run early in the first half to take a 13-10 lead.  The game was closely contested for most of the period until the Golden Eagles outscored the Miners 9-2 over the final 3:01 to go into the locker room up eight.  Artis ended a string of nine consecutive points for the Golden Eagles by banking in a jumper right before the buzzer.

Matt Willms, who sprained his ankle early in the second half of Thursday’s game, was in the starting lineup and gutted out 24 minutes with six points and seven rebounds.

“It was obvious that he was hurting,” Floyd said.  “You watched his shots, they were flat, he had no elevation, he couldn’t get off the floor.  He limped, he couldn’t recover defensively.  Things were happening behind him in the zone.  We thought we could protect him in the zone.  But I do admire the fact that he tried to play.”

Quinton Campbell scored 24 points with 10 rebounds for Southern Miss.  Cortez Edwards scored 17 points.

The Golden Eagles shot 46.3 percent and scored 30 points in the paint.

“We’ve got Matt Willms who can’t play man for long.  He doesn’t have the stamina,” Floyd said.  “We had Jake Flaggert in foul trouble, Paul Thomas in foul trouble.  We don’t have the bodies to go play man right now.  We can play it for a little while.  But as soon as the fouls creep up, it forces us to go back there and sit in the zone.  I can’t stand playing it, but we have to address what we have and try to give our guys a chance to win.”

UTEP will be home for seven of its next nine games, starting on Thursday when it hosts FIU.  The Miners will also host Florida Atlantic on Saturday.  Tip-off for both games is at 7 p.m.

Southern Miss Speeds Past UTEP at the Don 79-68

Tamara Seda (14 points, career-high tying 17 rebounds), Sparkle Taylor (21 points, career-high five assists) and Najala Howell (13 points, career-high tying six assists) all hit double figures in scoring but UTEP couldn’t quite slow down Southern Miss in a 79-68 setback at the Don Haskins Center Saturday afternoon.

The Miners (4-11, 1-2 C-USA) shot 49.1 percent (27-55) from the floor while controlling the boards (35-22) but the Lady Eagles (10-5, 2-1 C-USA) had too much firepower. Brittanny Dinkins erupted for 29 points (13-22 FG) while Megan Brown (11 points) and Shonte Hailes (10 points) also reached double figures for USM, which drilled 58.2 percent (32-55) of its shots from the field.

The Lady Eagles’ athleticism also caused fits for the Miners, who were harassed into 22 turnovers that resulted in 30 points. USM also had slight advantages for points in the paint (40-32) and fastbreak points (22-16). Bench scoring (15-14) and second-chance points (7-6) went UTEP’s way.

“It was a rough day but you gotta give Southern Miss credit for their defensive pressure,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “It is very disappointing. We were climbing up hill over the day but couldn’t get over the hump.”

Zuzanna Puc (eight points, seven rebounds) buoyed the play of Seda, Taylor and Howell while Faith Cook and Lulu McKinney each added five points. UTEP played unselfishly with 19 assists on 27 field goals made.

Southern Miss scored the first four points of the game before it went back-and-forth over the next several minutes, with the visitors leading only by three (10-7) with 3:07 to play in the quarter. Unfortunately that changed with a 6-0 spurt to put the Miners down by nine (16-7) with1:20 left in the frame.

UTEP regrouped and started to find some momentum early in the second quarter, using consecutive baskets by Seda to get within four (20-16, 8:19 2Q). The margin remained four (28-24, 5:52 2Q) after a driving lay-up by Howell but Southern Miss found another gear and was able to reinstate a nine-point lead (38-29) heading to the locker room.

The home side surged out of the gates to start the second half, using a 13-6 surge to climb all the way back within two (44-42, 5:46 3Q). The Miners had a chance to tie it after Taylor came up with a steal but Howell’s transition jumper didn’t fall. USM eventually pushed it back out to five but Howell sunk a triple. Once again, though, USM had an answer, this time by tallying five straight.

Jumpers by Puc and Taylor got it down to three (52-49) late in the frame. The Lady Eagles didn’t flinch, wrapping a 16-8 run around the end of the third and start of the fourth quarter to grab an 11-point lead (68-57) with 5:03 to play in the contest. UTEP continued to play hard and battle down the stretch, but it could get no closer than six the rest of the way.

The Miners will now turn their attention to preparing to play three straight and seven of the next nine on the road. Up first is a trip to the “Sunshine State,” with the Miners set to play at FIU (5 p.m. MT, Thursday) and at Florida Atlantic (3 p.m. MT, Saturday).Tim Hagerty will have the call for both games on 600 ESPN El Paso.

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H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Continue Road Swing at Southern Miss

UTEP (2-12, 0-2 C-USA) wraps up a three-game Conference USA road swing on Saturday at Southern Miss (4-10, 1-1 C-USA) as it looks to stamp out an 11-game losing streak.

The Miners are 0-2 in Conference USA play for the first time as a league member and trying to avoid their first 0-3 league start since the 2001-02 season, when they were members of the Western Athletic Conference.

Southern Miss is 4-3 at Reed Green Coliseum this season, including 1-1 in Conference USA play with a loss to LA Tech (79-55) and a win over UTSA (77-59). The Miners are 0-4 on the road, have lost six consecutive away games dating back to the 2015-16 season and are seeking their first win in Hattiesburg since 2010.

UTEP will be home for seven of its next nine games, starting next week when it hosts FIU (Thursday) and Florida Atlantic (Saturday).  The Miners will open a three-game homestand versus the Panthers and the Owls.

ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS

–    The Golden Eagles ended a nine-game losing skid with a 77-59 victory over UTSA on Thursday.
–    Southern Miss got a major boost from the return of senior guard Khari Price, who made his season debut versus the Roadrunners.  Price played 31 minutes and tied for game-high scoring honors with 20 points.  He made 7-of-12 shots and 4-of-4 free throws while adding five rebounds and three assists.
–    With Price back in the lineup, the Golden Eagles scored 77 points.  It marked the first time they have topped 70 points since opening the season with a 101-96, double overtime victory over Tougaloo.  In fact, in each of the previous 12 games Southern Miss failed to exceed 64 points.
–    A Dayton transfer in his second year at Southern Miss, Price averaged 9.6 points per game in 2015-16 while starting 29 times.  He was 10-for-10 from the line against UTEP on Jan. 28, 2016 in Hattiesburg.
–    Senior guard/forward Quinton Campbell is second on the team in scoring in 2016-17, averaging 11.5 points per game.  Campbell also put 20 points on the board against UTSA, making 8-of-12 shots.
–    Sophomore guard Cortez Edwards made his fifth start of the season versus the Roadrunners and supplied his first career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
–    The Golden Eagles trailed by six (39-33) at halftime but outscored UTSA 44-20 over the last 20 minutes.  Southern Miss held UTSA to 21.4 percent (6-for-28) shooting in the second half, including 0-for-11 from three-point range.  Southern Miss shot 53.6 percent in the second half, 50.9 percent for the game and scored 32 points in the paint.
–    The Golden Eagles are 4-3 at home this season and 0-7 outside of Hattiesburg.

SERIES HISTORY

–     UTEP  owns  a  14-11  advantage  in  the  Southern Miss series, but the Golden Eagles have won seven of the last 10 matchups and six of the last eight.
–    The Miners are 11-9 versus the Golden Eagles  since joining Conference USA.
–    UTEP is 3-8 all-time at Reed Green Coliseum with losses in its last five visits.
–     The  Miners  have  squandered sizeable leads in their last five trips to Hattiesburg.  UTEP  led  by  13  with  15:40  remaining  on  Feb.  16,  2011  (64-51  loss),  by  nine  with 16:33  remaining  on  Feb.  20,  2013  (45-39  loss), by  nine  with  18:19  remaining  on  Feb.  22,  2014 (77-68 loss), and by 24 with 11:39 remaining on Feb. 28, 2015 (63-60 loss).  Last year the Miners were up by 15 (22-7) about 11 minutes in before the Golden Eagles rallied for a 71-58 triumph.

THE LAST MEETING

–    Dominic Artis scored all 18 of his points in the second half as UTEP built a big lead, fell behind by seven points, then rallied for a 78-73 victory over Southern Miss on Feb. 18, 2016 at the Haskins Center.
–    The Miners, who laid a 17-0 run on Southern Miss in the first half of the previous year’s meeting at the Haskins Center, scored the game’s first 13 points. Moore (five points) and Earvin Morris (six) combined for 11 of the 13 points.
–    Southern Miss trimmed a 25-14 deficit down to one (29-28) with a 14-4 run.  UTEP led 36-34 at the half behind Moore, who scored 16 points.
–    The Golden Eagles took their first lead of the night, 41-40, on a jumper by Tim Rowe with 16:06 remaining.  Cortez Edwards’ layup with 11:08 to play completed a 14-3 run and gave Southern Miss its biggest lead at 50-43.
–    Artis started to assert himself offensively, scoring 10 of the next 15 points for the Miners.  His jumper at the 6:32 mark gave UTEP the lead for good, 58-56.
–    There were some anxious moments down the stretch, as Southern Miss pulled within one (66-65) on a Kourtlin Jackson layup with 2:44 to go.  But Harris hit a big three-pointer with 2:18 remaining and the Golden Eagles couldn’t get closer than three the rest of the game.
–    Besides the 18 points, Artis had five rebounds and seven assists for the Miners.  Moore scored 17 points, Harris 13, and Terry Winn added 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out midway through the second half.
–    Jackson scored 17 points. Price had 14 points and five assists and Michael O’Donnell, making his return from an injury, scored 11 points off the bench.

FLOYD’S HATTIESBURG TIES

–    UTEP Coach Tim Floyd’s hometown is Hattiesburg, Miss.
–    Floyd’s late father, Lee, coached the Golden Eagles for 14 seasons (1949-54 and 1962-71) and is the second-winningest coach in school history with 246 victories.
–    Floyd spent two seasons as a walk-on at Southern Miss before finishing his collegiate playing career at Louisiana Tech.
–    He will be coaching against Southern Miss in Hattiesburg for the seventh time and is 0-6.  On Jan. 23, 1989, Floyd’s New Orleans squad dropped a 79-68 decision to the Golden Eagles.  He is 0-5 at UTEP, including a 71-58 setback a year ago.

SADLER’S UTEP TIES

–    Southern Miss Head Coach Doc Sadler was the head coach at UTEP for two seasons (2004-06).  He directed the Miners to a 48-18 record with berths in the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and the NIT in 2006.
–    Sadler led UTEP to the 2005 Western Athletic Conference tournament title.  He was also an assistant at UTEP under coach Billy Gillispie during the 2003-04 season, when the Miners went 24-8 and made the first of back-to-back appearances in the “Big Dance.”
–    Southern Miss Assistant Chris Croft was also on Sadler’s UTEP staff.

Gallery + Story: Southern Miss Shuts Down UTEP 34-7

EL PASO, TEXAS – Southern Miss scored two touchdowns late in the second quarter to break open a close game as it opened defense of its Conference USA West Division title with a 34-7 win at UTEP on Saturday night.

The Golden Eagles (3-1, 1-0 C-USA) scored 17 points off three turnovers by the Miners (1-3, 0-1 C-USA), who struggled in all facets offensively.

Zack Greenlee and Ryan Metz combined to complete 14-of-28 passes for 113 yards and the Miners finished with 145 yards rushing, 99 of which came in the first half.

“We were inept on offense, minus one series,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said.  “Too many three and outs, two turnovers in that game, and outside the one series really didn’t run the ball efficiently or effectively.  I thought defensively, as many times as they were thrown out on short fields and three and outs, I thought they competed hard the whole night.  Defense really wasn’t the issue tonight.  I thought they held the running back in check and got after the quarterback a little bit. Offensively, we’ve got a lot of things to fix.  We’ve got to fix it quickly, whether that means we need to trim it down so we can execute and get the right people in the right spots.  That will be my job to get that rectified.   You can’t win that way.”

Southern Miss vs UTEP, Sun Bowl Stadium
Southern Miss vs UTEP, Sun Bowl Stadium

Aaron Jones was responsible for all 99 of the Miners’ first quarter yards.  He finished with 127 yards on 16 carries for his third 100-yard performance in four outings.

UTEP, which dropped its third straight C-USA opener in the Sun Bowl, took a 7-3 lead on a 68-yard run by Jones with 5:37 remaining in the first quarter.  The Miners trailed 10-7 with under four minutes remaining in the half before the Golden Eagles struck twice to take a 17-point lead (24-7) to the locker room.

First, Ito Smith caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Nick Mullens, then Allenzae Staggers reeled in a three-yard reception for six points.

The Golden Eagles shut out the Miners in the second half as UTEP had three drives end on downs and two on turnovers.  Three of UTEP’s seven second-half drives screeched to a halt inside the Southern Miss 30-yard line.

Penalties were also a problem for the fourth straight game as the Miners were whistled six times for 57 yards.  They have been called for 28 penalties totaling 249 yards in 2016 and UTEP is averaging 7.0 penalties per game, up from 5.0 in 2014 and 4.8 in 2015.

UTEP finished 1-for-11 on third down and 0-for-3 on fourth down Saturday.

Mullens, the preseason C-USA Offensive Player of the Year, completed 16-of-27 passes for 176 yards with three touchdowns.  Smith rushed 16 times for 108 yards. The Golden Eagles lost two second-half fumbles that the Miners were unable to convert into points.

Outside of the two late first-half scores by the Golden Eagles, another major turning point came midway through the third period when

Southern Miss vs UTEP, Sun Bowl Stadium
Southern Miss vs UTEP, Sun Bowl Stadium

UTEP, trailing 24-7, had first and goal at the two-yard line.  Jones was stuffed for no gain and, on second down, Greenlee was picked off by the Golden Eagles’ Curtis Mikell, who ran 100 yards for a TD and extended the visitors’ lead to 24 points.

UTEP had an improved performance on defense, holding the Golden Eagles to 378 yards – 140 below their season average – as Mike Sota was credited with a career-high nine tackles.  The Miners were playing without standout linebacker Alvin Jones and promising freshman lineman Gene Hopkins.

“We’ll re-evaluate every position, particularly on offense,” Kugler said.  “We’re not moving the ball effectively.  Whether that ends up being Ryan Metz or Zack Greenlee, we’ll make that determination.  I feel both of them can move the ball but it’s got to be the one that does move the ball.  Zack didn’t move the team effectively tonight, [and] we went with Ryan.  He showed some glimpses as well.  But we’ll evaluate that and move on as we go throughout the week.  We’ve got a lot of things to fix besides the quarterback position.”

The Miners will play their first C-USA road game next week at LA Tech.  Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. MT on Saturday (Oct. 1).  The game will be televised on the American Sports Network.

All photos by Andres Acosta

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