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Miners Ready for Wake Forest at the Gildan Charleston Classic

After tipping off the 2016-17 season with a couple of exhibitions versus Division II schools and a lopsided win over a Division III opponent, the UTEP Miners will be tested mightily when they take part in the Gildan Charleston Classic.

UTEP will play three games in the four-day event – Thursday, Friday and Sunday – at 5,100-seat TD Arena in Charleston.  Up first is a matchup with Wake Forest out of the Atlantic Coast Conference on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. (Mountain time).

The game will be televised on ESPN3 with Roy Philpott and Mark Plansky calling the action.

UTEP is participating in an ESPN in-season tournament for the fourth time in six years.  The Miners played in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu (2011), Old Spice Classic in Orlando (2012) and Wooden Legacy in Anaheim (2014) previously.  This is the sixth time in seven years that UTEP has taken part in a November tournament, all under coach Tim Floyd, including the Legends Classic in Atlantic City (2010), the Old Spice Classic (2012), the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas (2013), Wooden Legacy (2014) and the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic (2015).

“We’ve tried to do this every year that we’ve been here,” Floyd said.  “I think it’s a great challenge for us.  The ACC is the ACC and they’re getting the best of the best and they’ve got terrific, terrific talent.  I think this a much-improved Wake Forest team.  I talked to the coach at East Carolina yesterday and he thought they would finish fifth or sixth in the league.  So he’s got them playing very well.”

The Demon Deacons won only 11 games last season but coach Danny Manning has upgraded the team’s talent by bringing in six newcomers, including transfers Austin Arians (Milwaukee) and Keyshawn Woods (Charlotte).  Graduate transfer forward Arians (8.5 ppg) has started the first two games.  Sophomore guard Woods has come off the bench for the first two contests but is second on the team in scoring (18.0 ppg).

And then there’s sophomore forward John Collins, who may be the most-improved player in the country.  A year after averaging 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, the 6-10 forward produced stat lines of 18 points/12 rebounds and 19 points/nine rebounds in the Demon Deacons’ first two games versus Radford and Bucknell.

Wake Forest is shooting 40.9 percent (18-for-44) from three-point range this season, up from 31.6 percent in 2015-16, and made 13 triples on Sunday against Bucknell.

“It’s a much-improved shooting team from a year ago,” Floyd said.

Besides UTEP and Wake Forest, this year’s Gildan Charleston Classic features defending national champion Villanova, Boise State, College of Charleston, Mississippi State, UCF and Western Michigan.  UTEP will face either Villanova or Western Michigan, which won 13 games a year ago, on Friday.

“The challenges beyond Wake, who knows who you’ll play and they’re all good,” Floyd said.  “Our kids are excited.  We’re looking forward to getting out there and trying to see if we can gauge our improvement and where we need to go after this week.”

The tournament setting will benefit teams as they venture into postseason play four months down the road.

“They do because you have to prepare back-to-back-to-back and then you get into conference tournament play, certainly you have to go through that in order to try to get to the NCAA Tournament,” Floyd said.  “Just from that standpoint, it gives us a reference point that we can look back on and frame how we’re going to change things, or maybe what we’re going to try to duplicate.”

If the Miners are going to have a shot against Wake Forest, they know they’ll have to protect the basketball, something they didn’t do in Saturday’sseason-opening rout of Louisiana College.  UTEP turned over the ball 22 times in that game, just one of several areas they can still work on.

“There is something everywhere,” Floyd said.  “It may be rebounding, it may be not being able to guard the dribble, it may be not getting back on defense.  We can always find something.  That’s what coaches do.  We showed the turnovers to our players, we took the clips out.  Some things we can’t do for them.  We try to put them in positions where they can make plays that they can make.  We just threw it all over the gym.  But I saw something yesterday where turnovers are up nationally right now.  Who knows why.”

UTEP’s backcourt of Dominic Artis and Omega Harris stole the show in the Louisiana College game.  Artis put up eight points, nine rebounds, 13 assists and four steals.  Harris scored 24 points.  They could be the heroes for the Miners on Thursday, or someone else could emerge.

“Who knows what Wake Forest will try to take away from us,” Floyd said.  “They watch film and they look at things.  We’ll try to play good team basketball and when you play good team basketball, it depends on coverages, who’s going to have an opportunity to play well.”

Miners Sign 7-1 Big Man Silva

The UTEP basketball team has added another seven-footer to the roster with the signing of Roman Silva to a national letter of intent.  The NLI was received and validated by the UTEP compliance office on Sunday.

“We’re really excited about Roman and the potential that he brings to our program,” coach Tim Floyd said.  “At seven-foot-one, he has a knack for putting the ball in the basket and he has great hands.  We really believe he’s a fine player and he’s only going to get better.  He has a 4.2 grade point average and wants to major in engineering at UTEP.  We look forward to watching him progress both academically and athletically.  Adding Roman gives us some insurance with Matt Willms’ foot injury, and the development of Kelvin Jones will allow us to play two bigs at one time.”

Roman Silva at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, CA., Thursday, February 4, 2016. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
Roman Silva at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, CA., Thursday, February 4, 2016. (Photo by Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The 230-pound Silva just completed his senior year at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Calif.  He averaged 18.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks.  Silva led Diamond Ranch to a 25-9 record, the CIF Division 3AA championship and a Hacienda League co-championship.  He was named the CIF Division 3AA Player of the Year.

He was a two-time first team All-Hacienda League selection and was also appointed to the first team at the McDonald’s Classic Tournament in El Paso.  Silva participated in the Tribune/Star-News All-Star Classic in La Verne, Calif. on Friday.

In early February, Silva was tabbed the SoCal Prep Legends Boys Athlete of the Week after registering 21 points (versus Los Altos), 26 points (against West Covina) and 19 points (El Camino) in three games. He was a San Gabriel Valley Tribune All-Star and an Inland Valley All-Star.

“It was an easy decision to go to UTEP because the coaches are really friendly and I felt like I could trust them,” Silva said.  “That was a big part of the whole process for me.  They were genuine, and that’s something my family and I appreciated.  There were quite a few schools looking at me with a lot of interest.  But the fact that coach Floyd came to see me and offered a scholarship right away showed that he trusted in me, and that was huge.

“I feel like I can make a big impact in the frontcourt for the Miners.  I’ve worked really hard to establish a post presence and once I get stronger, it will be even bigger than it is now.”

His high school coach was Eric Cooper, the uncle of former UTEP guard C.J. Cooper.  C.J. is an assistant coach at Cooper International Academy prep school.

Silva also attended Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., where he played on the freshman team and on the varsity squad as a sophomore before transferring to Diamond Ranch High School.

“He has a passion to be the best that he can be,” Eric Cooper said.  “He didn’t have the skill level and everything that he needed when he came to our school, and within a short period of time he put the work in, developed and turned into a totally different creature.  Within two months he had a decent jump shot, he hit his free throws, he worked on his post moves down low and he had a little jump hook.  If you saw him six months ago, you wouldn’t believe he was the same player that he is now.  His future is much brighter than his past and he’s going to improve really quick.”

“Getting Roman to UTEP is big,” C.J. Cooper said.  “I enjoyed my time there and I taught him a lot about the program.  He is a good player.  He has all the skills to be successful.  All he has to do is get stronger.  He hasn’t been playing basketball for very long.  He has a really strong work ethic.  It’s crazy how much better he has gotten and he has so much more room to grow.  The sky is the limit with him.”

UTEP’s Artis Named to C-USA Basketball All-Academic Team

UTEP junior guard Dominic Artis was one of five players selected to the 2016 Conference USA Men’s Basketball All-Academic Team on Friday.  Artis has a 3.57 cumulative grade point average and is majoring in Multidisciplinary Studies.

Joining Artis on the team are Marshall’s Jon Elmore and Austin Loop, Old Dominion’s Trey Freeman and UAB’s Nick Norton.

A San Francisco native, Artis is averaging 11.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.3 steals this season.  He is fourth in C-USA in assists, third in assist/turnover ratio and 11th in steals.  Artis has dished out 153 assists, the 12th-best seasonal total in school history.

He has come close to posting a triple double four times this season, including twice within C-USA play (23 points/10 rebounds/nine assists at LA Tech, 13 points/nine rebounds/nine assists at Florida Atlantic).

UTEP will host UTSA in the regular season finale on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT.



Jon Elmore – Marshall – Sophomore – 3.60 – Public Communications (Management)

Austin Loop – Marshall – Junior – 3.63 – Biomechanics/Clinical Exercise/Psychology

Trey Freeman – Old Dominion – Grad – 3.28 – Sport Management

Norton – UAB – Sophomore – 3.68 – Finance

Dominic Artis – UTEP – Junior – 3.57 – Multidisciplinary Studies​

Author: UTEP Athletics

Miners move to 6-0 with 70-62 home win over New Mexico

Sophomore Lulu McKinney poured in a career-high 22 points on her birthday to help keep the UTEP women’s basketball team undefeated on the year following a 70-62 win against I-25 rival New Mexico at the Don Haskins Center Wednesday afternoon.

The Miners (6-0) led wire-to-wire, with a game-opening 14-2 run putting the Lobos (4-3) in too big of a hole to fully recover. UNM, which returned four starters and 11 letter winners from last year’s squad that forged a 21-13 record, battled back but it simply had no answer for UTEP’s torrid outside shooting.

The Orange and Blue drained 12-of-24 from three-point range (tied for sixth most 3PM all time at UTEP), with McKinney connecting on a ridiculous 6-of-8 (tied fourth all time at UTEP) from beyond-the-arc. Seniors Cameasha Turner (16 points) and Starr Breedlove (11 points) joined McKinney in double figures.

Junior Tamara Seda came off the bench to score seven points and grab four rebounds, with her biggest contribution coming late in the third quarter. The Lobos had whittled UTEP’s once 14-point advantage down to three (39-36, 2:49 3Q) before Seda’s old-fashioned three-point play helped reinstate order. UNM never got closer within one possession the rest of the way, with the Miners’ effort at the free-throw line (12-of-16, 75.0 percent) helping ice the contest.

“We played hard, they made a run at us but we kept grinding it out,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “We made some plays and played hard. This was a good win for us.”

UNM’s Khadijah Shumpert overcame foul issues to post a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) while Cherise Beynon pitched in 13 points and Bryce Owens added eight.

Both teams connected on 41.8 percent (23-of-55) from the floor, but the Miner limited the Lobos to 5-0f-19 from three-point land. The Orange and Blue bench outscored UNM, 31-18. UTEP also took great care of the ball against a stingy Lobo defense, committing only seven turnovers (tied sixth fewest all time at UTEP).

Unselfish play was also a factor, with the Miners ringing up 17 assists on 23 made fields. Breedlove was credited with six helpers while Jenzel Nash dished out four. SophomoreDaeshianna McCants quietly filled up the stat sheet, recorded five points, six boards, three blocks (tied career high) and three assists (career high) in 33 minutes (career high).

UTEP led 3-2 with 8:58 to play in the first quarter before peeling off 11 straight points to make it 14-2 at 4:28 of the opening frame. UNM regrouped, trimming the deficit down to six (16-10) after 10 minutes of action. McKinney took over in the second quarter, though, bombing away with four triples alone in the period to help the Miners grab a commanding 12-point lead (34-22) heading into halftime.

The Lobos came out with a purpose in the third quarter, using a 14-5 run over the first seven minutes to claw back within three. Seda made sure it got no closer with the aforementioned and-one. Almost as important on the play was the fact that Shumpert picked up her fourth foul of the game on the sequence, which hindered her ability to play aggressively the rest of the way.

UTEP will play its first road contest of the season when it ventures up I-10 to lock up with New Mexico State at 2 p.m. MST inside the Pan-American Center Saturday. Tim Hagerty and Traci Miller will have the call of the game on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD AM Radio.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Story in Six Pics: UTEP downs Texas State 77-62

The hardcourt Miners got it done Saturday night at the Don versus Texas State, winning 77 to 62. Check out a Andres Acosta’s pix in this ‘Story in Six Pics.’

tx State at UTep-14







tx State at UTep-8









tx State at UTep-5 tx State at UTep-13tx State at UTep-11tx State at UTep-7 tx State at UTep-6 tx State at UTep-3tx State at UTep-15




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