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Home | Tag Archives: utep basketball

Tag Archives: utep basketball

UTEP to take on North Carolina A&T in 58th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational

The UTEP Miners (6-1) will open the 58th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational with a contest against North Carolina A&T (3-7) on Monday night in the Haskins Center.

Kent State (8-1) and UC Irvine (5-5) will commence the nation’s oldest collegiate holiday basketball tournament with a 5 p.m. tipoff.

UTEP is looking to win its first Sun Bowl Tournament Championship since 2014 when it defeated Kent State, 78-75, on Dec. 22.

The Miners and Aggies is slated for a 7 p.m. start and can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso as “The Voice of the UTEP Miners” Jon Teicher will call the action along with Steve Yellen with color analysis. The contest will also be streamed on CUSA.TV.

UTEP is 6-0 at home for the first time since the 2007-08 season after defeating Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 59-50, on Dec. 7.

The Miners’ defense only allowed 16 points in the second half, while Bryson Williams, who was named the Conference USA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 9, led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds. The redshirt junior added a trio of dimes with three steals and a blocked shot.

Williams has averaged 26.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game during the last three contests. He’s connected on 73.2 percent (30-41) of his buckets, while making 4-of-6 three-pointers and shooting an outstanding 88.2 percent (15-17) from the charity stripe.

Overall, Williams is shooting 70.4 percent from the field, ranking second in C-USA and fifth nationally. The Fresno, Calif., product also ranks ninth in C-USA in free-throws made (30), 10th in free-throw percentage (81.1) and third in defensive rebounds per game (6.1).

Souley Boum has been another bright spot for the Miners as the redshirt sophomore is ranked tied first nationally in free-throw percentage. Boum has been perfect (21-21) from the line to jumpstart his UTEP career. It’s the longest streak by a Miners since Omega Harris who made 22 straight foul shots during the 2017-18 season.

The Miners have made 76.4 percent (113-148) of their free throws, ranking third in the conference and 31st in the nation.

UTEP’s opponent North Carolina A&T is coming off an 83-52 loss at Bradley on Dec. 7. The Aggies’ most recent victory came against Longwood (52-41) on Dec. 4. A&T has also defeated Charleston Southern, 63-49, on Nov. 8 and Nicholls, 66-54, on Nov. 22.

North Carolina A&T senior Ronald Jackson leads his squad in points per game (12.2), while the 6-8 forward also paces the team in rebounds per game (8.5). Junior guard Kameron Langley leads the Aggies with 45 assists, ranks second in rebounds per game (5.3) and is tied for the team lead with 14 steals. Junior guard Tyler Maye ranks second on the team in points per game (9.3), while tallying 14 steals.

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+Gallery+Story: Miners march to 6-1 with 59-50 win vs UAPB

Bryson Williams scored 19 points, including a crucial three-point play late, as UTEP held off Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 59-50, on Saturday in the Haskins Center to move to 6-1 on the young season.

“We have a lot of respect for [UAPB] coach Ivory,” UTEP coach Rodney Terry said.  “We knew his team was going to come in here and compete at a very high level.  Whether they were at Kansas State or Pitt, those guys compete from start to finish.  We knew we were going to play a team that would come in here and not be intimidated by us.  They’ve already played quality opponents and played them well.”

Williams added seven rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Miners, who are 6-0 at home for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign.

Marquell Carter scored 21 points with five threes for the Golden Lions (1-7), who have played seven of their first eight games on the road.

Outrebounded 15-8 in the first half, UTEP (6-1) turned the tables on the Golden Lions (1-7) over the final 20 minutes.  The Miners had an 18-12 edge on the glass during that stretch.  UTEP was in a dogfight until holding UAPB scoreless over the final 3:14.  During that time the Golden Lions missed three shots, and the Miners closed out possessions with defensive rebounds.

The Miners trailed 14-11 midway through the first half before putting together an 18-2 run over the next four and a half minutes.  Williams’ jumper at the 4:42 mark gave UTEP its largest lead of the half, 29-16.  UAPB, however, got hot from three-point range in the final few minutes of the half and drew to within a point (35-34) at the break.

In the first half, the Golden Lions shot 60 percent (12-for-20) from the field while making 4-of-8 threes.  UTEP compensated by scoring 16 points off 13 UAPB turnovers.

“For the better part of the first 10 or 12 minutes, we did a good job of guarding the way we’ve guarded all year,” Terry said.  “We really haven’t had a team shoot 60 percent on us all year and 50 percent from three.  We’ve been one of the best three-point field goal defenses in the country.”

In the first half Carter scored 15 points, making three triples.

“We let a guy get comfortable,” Terry said.  “He sized up a shot, and then we let him get comfortable again and he sized up another shot.  He made three before the half.  When you do that, you give a team confidence, and you’ve got to come back out and play at a very high level.”

The Miners scored the first seven points of the second half while holding UAPB scoreless over the first 4:23.  Overall, UTEP limited UAPB to one field goal over the first eight and a half minutes of the period in building a 45-36 lead.  But the Golden Lions wouldn’t go away.  They pulled within four (54-50) on another three-pointer by Carter with 3:15 to go.

Those were the final points for UAPB, as Kaden Archie scored a layup with 2:49 remaining, followed by Williams’ huge “and-one” at the 2:13 mark.

Williams made 6-of-11 shots and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the line, capping a week where he averaged 23 points per game.

Tydus Verhoeven, making his first start of the season, had four of the Miners’ 12 steals.  Souley Boum scored nine points for UTEP, while Nigel Hawkins and Efe Odigie added seven apiece off the bench.

The Miners shot 43.2 percent from the field while facing a zone defense exclusively for the first time this season.

“Good game for us, a good opportunity for us to play against zone,” Terry said.  “We’re going to continue to get better and better as the year goes on versus zone.”

The Miners will take part in the 58th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Dec. 16-17 in the Haskins Center.  UTEP will join Kent State, North Carolina A&T and UC Irvine in the event.

First round matchups on Dec. 16 are Kent State versus UC Irvine at 5 p.m., and UTEP versus North Carolina A&T at 7 p.m.  The consolation game is set for 5 p.m. on Dec. 17, followed by the championship game at 7 p.m.

UTEP has won 31 Sun Bowl Tournament titles, most recently in 2014.  Tickets are on sale online or by calling (915) 747-5234.

Gallery by Johnny Yturales – EL Paso Herald Post  |  Video courtesy UTEP

UTEP defense shines in hard-hought loss to Arizona 54-43

UTEP forced 23 turnovers and held No. 20 Arizona to its lowest scoring output in a nonconference game in three years but couldn’t get enough shots to fall in a 54-43 setback at the Don Haskins Center Saturday afternoon.

“I’m really, really proud of our team,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “We played terrific defense, especially in the fourth quarter. We held them to one field goal in the whole fourth quarter. That had a lot to do with our defensive energy, with the energy in the Haskins Center. I thought our fans were terrific today. We’re just going to get better and better.”

The Miners (7-2) limited the Wildcats (9-0) to 38.0 percent shooting (19-50), including just 7.1 percent (1-14) from beyond-the-arc. Arizona entered the contest averaging 78 points and shooting 49 percent from the floor. UTEP also kept All-American Aari McDonald to 13 points on 4-14 shooting, eight below her scoring output.

The defensive effort, particularly over the final three quarters, helped give Arizona its smallest margin of victory on the year. The Wildcats brought a +33 scoring margin into the game.

Ariona Gill (11 points) and Katia Gallegos (10 points) paced UTEP on offense. The Miners shot 43 percent in the opening frame but couldn’t sustain that on the way to finishing at 25.9 percent (15-58) for the day.

But the defense, which kept Arizona to 1-9 in the final quarter, allowed the home side to be down by just nine with three minutes to play. UTEP could get no closer, with the Wildcats hitting enough free throws down stretch to hold on.

The Wildcats were led by Cate Reese’s double-double (19 points, 17 rebounds).

UTEP struck first with a triple from Katarina Zec before Arizona countered with eight quick points to prompt a timeout from Baker. The Miners responded by firing off a quick 5-0 run, including a trey by Sabine Lipe, to knot the game at 8-8.

The Wildcats answered with a 5-0 push of their own. UTEP ended the push with a fastbreak layup by Gill but still found itself down by seven (21-14) through 10 minutes of action.

Arizona tallied the first eight points in the second quarter to put the Orange and Blue down by 15 (29-14) midway through the stanza. Gill stopped it with a free throw, and then UTEP turned up the heat defensively. The Miners kept the Wildcats without a field goal for almost five minutes, but they couldn’t get enough shots of their own to fall. UTEP headed into halftime trailing by 16 (33-17).

It remained at 16-point differential early in the fourth quarter before UTEP’s defense allowed the Orange and Blue to chip away. A jumper by Gallegos was followed by a lay-up from Gill, forcing Arizona to call timeout with its advantage trimmed to 13 (49-36). UTEP continued to fight and got within nine (50-41) after a corner triple by Avery Crouse, but the Wildcats were able to hold on.

The Miners will be idle for final exams before returning to action at American Athletic Conference member SMU at 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT on Dec. 19.

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.

Gallery by Ruben R. Ramirez & Johnny Yturales – El Paso Herald Post

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 aiming to get back on winning track against UAPB Saturday

The UTEP men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the 2019-20 season on Tuesday at NM State.  But the Miners still have the best record in Conference USA (5-1), and they’ll look to resume their winning ways on Saturday when they open a three-game homestand against Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-6) at 7 p.m. in the Haskins Center.

“I’ve been saying this all along, we haven’t played our best basketball yet,” UTEP coach Rodney Terry said.  “We’re a better shooting team than what we’ve shown to this point in the season.  As our guards continue to get better and get better, then our team will get better and improve as well.  This team has a high ceiling in terms of our growth and where we’re going to be able to go this year.  We’re still learning what it takes to win, both on the road and at home.”

The Miners may have one mark in the loss column, but they’re still unbeaten in the friendly confines of the Bear’s Den (5-0) with an average margin of victory of 15 points.  UTEP is 5-0 at home to open a season for just the third time in the 2000’s.  The Miners started 8-0 in the DHC during the 2003-04 campaign (en route to an NCAA Tournament appearance), and 6-0 in 2007-08.

UTEP is one of four remaining C-USA teams with unblemished home marks, along with FIU (4-0), LA Tech (4-0) and WKU (3-0).

UTEP junior forward Bryson Williams is on a tear, scoring 33 points (versus East Central) and 27 points (at NM State) in the Miners’ last two games.  He is the first UTEP player to produce 27 points or more in consecutive contests since Randy Culpepper during the 2010-11 season.

Williams is averaging 19.5 ppg (second in C-USA) and his .733 field goal percentage rates third nationally.  He has added a new dimension to his game in 2019-20 as he has made 6-of-9 three-point attempts; in his first two seasons at Fresno State (2016-18), Williams was a combined 1-for-4 from downtown.

Sophomore guard Souley Boum was the other Miner to score in double figures at NM State (11 points) behind a 6-for-6 effort at the foul line.  He ran his streak of consecutive made free throws to 17, which is the longest by a UTEP player since Evan Gilyard hit 19 in a row over the course of the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.

Omega Harris made 22 straight foul shots during the 2017-18 season.  As a team, the Miners have been stellar at the charity stripe in 2019-20 after going 14-for-15 at NM State to raise their seasonal mark to 76.2 (third in C-USA).

The Miners will look for a more balanced offensive effort against UAPB after three players (Williams, Boum, Daryl Edwards) accounted for 47 of the team’s 56 points at NM State.  On the defensive end, UTEP will simply look to remain solid, as its opponent field goal percentage (.378) and opponent scoring average (61.7 ppg) both rank among the C-USA leaders.

UAPB has played six of its first seven games on the road, with losses to USF (70-41), Gonzaga (110-60), Grand Canyon (67-54), Kansas State (62-51), Pittsburgh (66-41) and Tulsa (72-39).  Junior guard Shaun Doss (12.3 ppg) and junior forward Markedric Bell (10.9 ppg) are the team’s leading scorers, although Doss has missed the last four games due to injury.

UAPB tied for third in the SWAC last season (10-8 record) and returned two starters for 2019-20.  The Golden Lions have two preseason second team All-SWAC players in Doss and junior center Terrance Banyard (7.3 ppg/5.0 rpg).

After Saturday, the Miners will take a break for finals week before returning to “The Don” to participate in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.  UTEP will face North Carolina A&T in opening round action on Monday, Dec. 16 (7 p.m.), and either Kent State or UC Irvine on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at a time to be determined.

Forward Isaiah Rhyanes will become the latest Miner to earn his degree when he graduates from the University next weekend.

Saturday’s matchup is the “Hoops for the Holidays” game and will feature seasonal activities for the whole family, plus an appearance by Santa Claus.  Tickets are available by calling 747-5234 or by visiting WWW.DEFENDTHEDON.COM.

Gallery+Story: NMSU ends UTEP’s win streak 59-56

LAS CRUCES – C.J. Bobbitt scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, leading NM State to a 59-56 win over UTEP in the Battle of I-10 on Tuesday night at the Pan American Center.

Bobbitt was 3-for-4 from the field, 2-for-3 from three-point range and 4-for-4 from the line over the final 20 minutes as the Aggies (5-4) handed the Miners (5-1) their first loss of the season and salvaged a split in the season series.

NM State outscored the Miners in the paint (32-22) and controlled the glass (36-28), overcoming a dominant performance by UTEP’s Bryson Williams, who scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half.

“Give those guys credit.  They were a little tougher than us,” UTEP coach Rodney Terry said.  “That’s hard for me to say in terms of the points in the paint.  We weren’t as tough as we needed to be and didn’t have the resistance that we needed around the basket.”

Williams finished 9-for-13 from the floor, 4-for-6 from three-point range and 5-for-6 from the line while adding nine rebounds for the Miners.  Williams, Souley Boum (11 points) and Daryl Edwards (nine) accounted for 47 of UTEP’s 56 points.

The Miners went up 16-14 on a three-pointer by Williams with 5:35 remaining in the period, but the Aggies answered with an 11-2 run to surge to a 25-18 advantage.  The Miners trimmed the deficit to four (27-23) at the midway point.

UTEP tied it up twice early in the second half, 32-32 and 34-34, but was unable to regain the lead.  Still, it went right down to the wire, as Wiliams and Lathon both missed three-pointers in the final seconds.

NM State matched its biggest lead of seven points (54-47) on a jumper by Bobbitt with 6:03 to go.  The Miners chipped away with five straight points to get within two (54-52), and were within five over the final 5:12.

Trailing 57-56, the Miners intentionally fouled Bobbitt with 12 seconds left.  He drained both shots before Williams and Lathon’s last-ditch attempts from long range were offline.

Johnny McCants scored 13 points and Jabari Rice added 10, leading the Aggies to a 25-4 edge in bench scoring.

The Miners held the Aggies’ leading scorer, Trevelin Queen, to two points on 1-for-8 shooting after he tallied 21 points in the first matchup between the teams in El Paso.

“We did a good job on Queen,” Terry said.  “He is a guy that can really score the basketball.  I thought our perimeter guys guarded really hard.  We didn’t get the job done in the paint.  They did a really nice job.  McCants did a really good job.  We needed to do a better job trying to be more physical with him inside.

UTEP shot 39.1 percent from the field, and NM State shot 38.9 percent.  The Miners went 14-for-15 from the line but missed 17 of their 23 three-point tries.

“We got to the foul line.  We made foul shots,” Terry said.  “We had opportunities.  We had wide open looks.  We didn’t make some shots that we’re more than capable of making.  To me, that was the disappointing part, that we didn’t match their toughness.  We knew going into this game that it’s a toughness game, a tough mindset, and we have to be tough.”

The Miners will open a three-game homestand against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday (Dec. 7) at 7 p.m.  The “Hoops for the Holidays” game will feature seasonal activities for the whole family.  To purchase tickets, call 747-5234 or visit the ‘Defend the Don’ ticket website.

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

Khlopkova Named C-USA Freshman Of The Week

DALLAS – UTEP women’s basketball guard Arina Khlopkova has been named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday afternoon. She is the first Miner to secure the honor in three years.

She helped the Miners go 2-0 at the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic by setting career highs for scoring in back-to-back games. Overall on the week she averaged 17.0 points on 58.8 percent (10-17) shooting, including 57.1 percent (4-7) from the 3-point line. She also was a combined 83.3 percent (10-12) from the charity stripe.

Khlopkova started things off by putting up a then career-best 14 points in only 16 minutes in the 30-point win against Western Michigan on Nov. 29. That was followed up by tallying a team-high and career-best 20 points in the 71-68 victory against Georgia State on Nov. 30.

She took a key charge late in the game, in addition to sinking a free-throw to extend the Miners’ lead to three with seven seconds left. She was making her first career start against the Panthers.

UTEP will shoot for its fourth straight win when it plays host to Weber State at 7 p.m. MT Thursday. 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.

Gallery+Story: UTEP Holds Off Georgia State 71-68, Miners now 6-1

Freshmen Arina Khlopkova (career-best 20 points) Katia Gallegos (13 points, career-high eight rebounds) Avery Crouse (career-best 11 points) all had big nights to help lead the UTEP women’s basketball team to a 71-68 victory against Georgia State in its final game of the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic Saturday evening.

The Miners (6-1) forced 20 turnovers, including Khlopkova drawing a charge late in the game, to help topple the upset-minded Panthers (1-5). At 6-1, UTEP is off to the best start of the Kevin Baker era but Georgia State didn’t make it easy. There were eight ties and nine lead changes in a back-and-forth battle.

It was tied at 68 with 1:42 to play when Gallegos split through traffic for the go-ahead lay-up. Georgia State missed a pair of shots to either tie or retake the lead late, and Khlopkova put the finishing touches on the win with a free throw with seven seconds left.

“Hats off to Georgia State, I thought they played a terrific game,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “They gave us a heck of a game out there. I’m really proud the way that we gutted out the win. Our young kids really stepped up. They did fantastic. I’m not surprised. They’re all very talented.”

UTEP overcame an off shooting night (37.1 percent) by taking care of business at the charity stripe (19-24, 79.2 percent) and turning up the pressure to force the aforementioned 20 turnovers.

Sabine Lipe came off the bench to chip in four points, four rebounds and four assists while Ariana Taylor netted six points to go along with two boards. UTEP took good care of the ball, committing only 11 turnovers.

Georgia State was led by Taylor Hosendove’s huge double-double (21 points, 19 rebounds). Jada Lewis (17 points) and Tehya Lyons (10 points) also reached double figures for the Panthers.

The visitors got out quickly, securing an 14-9 cushion with 3:30 to play in the opening frame. UTEP struck back with seven straight points, including five courtesy of Khlopkova, to grab a two-point cushion (16-14) late in the frame. Georgia State connected on a triple in the final minute of the frame to carry a 17-16 edge into the second quarter of play.

GSU was up by two (23-21) with 6:22 left before UTEP blitzed the Panthers with eight straight points to suddenly go up by six (29-23). It was back-and-forth the remainder of the half, with the Miners armed with an eight-point advantage (42-34) through 20 minutes of action. The Orange and Blue outscored GSU, 26-17, in the frame.

The Panthers opened up the second half with an 8-2 surge to cut UTEP’s advantage down to two (44-42) and prompt Baker to call timeout. The Miners got a basket from Jade Rochelle out of the break. After a score from GSU, Zec drilled the corner triple to put the home side back out by five. It was cut to two (49-47), but once again UTEP had a response.

This time it was four straight free throws, which helped the Miners eventually maintain a three-point margin (57-54) through three quarters.

It remained a three-point differential (59-56) early in the fourth quarter before GSU tallied five straight to take its first lead since the opening quarter at 61-59. It was a seesaw battle the rest of the way, with the Miners emerging victorious.

UTEP will shoot for its fourth straight win when it plays host to Weber State at 7 p.m. MT Thursday. 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.

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

Gallery+Story: UTEP Shoots Past Western Michigan 76-46

The UTEP women’s basketball team surged out to a 23-point lead at the half (38-15) en route to knocking off Western Michigan, 76-46, at the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic Friday afternoon.

“We played really well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “The first half set the tone. I thought our press really took them out of their game. The kids kind of just took over with tremendous chemistry. They played some quality basketball, and we beat a good basketball team.”

The Miners (5-1) shot 49.2 percent (30-61) from the floor and won the boards (47-32) to handle the Broncos (2-3). UTEP also got after it on defense by holding WMU to 28.1 percent (16-64) and forcing 18 turnovers to keep them 28 points below their scoring average (74.0) entering the game.

Arina Khlopkova (career-high 14 points), Katarina Zec (12 points) and Michelle Pruitt (10 points) all hit double figures in scoring to pace UTEP. Tia Bradshaw (career-best eight points) also had a career scoring day. Ariona Gill (10 rebounds) led the charge on the glass while Zec secured a season-high eight boards.

UTEP shared the ball well, with 20 assists on 30 field goals, with Katia Gallegos (five) and Avery Crouse (career-best four) leading the way in the department.

WMU took an early 4-3 lead before UTEP struck back with a 13-2 push to lead by 10 (16-6) with 3:23 to play in the first quarter. Included in the surge were eight straight points by Zec, which prompted a timeout from the Broncos. Gallegos also found Crouse for a transition triple. WMU used a free throw late to cut the Miners’ advantage to nine (16-7) before Bradshaw beat the buzzer with a pull-up jumper to put UTEP up 11 (18-7) through 10 minutes of action.

The Miners carried the momentum into the second quarter, unleashing a 12-2 run over the first seven minutes of the frame to extend their advantage to 21 (30-9). It was back-and-forth the rest of the frame, with the Miners heading into halftime armed with the aforementioned 23-point cushion.

UTEP continued to sizzle in the third quarter, using a 9-0 run midway through the frame to push the differential to 30 (54-24) with 4:34 to play in the period. WMU put together a bit of a rally, cutting the margin to 22 (56-34) after three quarters of play. The home side continued to control in the final frame, with the Broncos never getting closer than that the rest of the way.

The Miners will wrap up play at the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic against Georgia State at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Don Haskins Center. NM State will face Western Michigan at 5 p.m., in the first game of the day. 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.

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

Miners prep for Thanksgiving Classic action starting Friday

The UTEP women’s basketball team (4-1) will play twice in as many days as part of the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic Friday and Saturday at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners will square off with Western Michigan (2-2) at 3:30 p.m. Friday and against Georgia State (0-4) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. NM State will face both Georgia State (1 p.m., Friday) and Western Michigan (5 p.m., Saturday) in the other contests in classic.

“This year’s Thanksgiving Classic will be a great opportunity for our team to compete and improve. Western Michigan will bring in a very well-coached and talented team. They play a very fast, up-tempo style and like to shoot quickly each possession. They will try and speed up the game and push the ball to score,” UTEP Head Coach Kevin Baker shared. “They will also be difficult to keep off the boards. Their style of play is a little different than ours and we will need to play well to find success.”

Baker added, “Georgia State has a very athletic and fast team. Their team is athletic and scrappy and they can cause problems for you with their defensive energy. They are also great attackers off the dribble and will try to get to the rim. I consider them to be a very dangerous team.  If they can get their perimeter shooting going then they can compete with anyone. We will need to do a great job defending them.”

With a win against Western Michigan Friday, the Miners can match their best start (5-1) of the Kevin Baker era. UTEP got out of the gates at 5-1 in 2017-18, Baker’s first year on the sidelines.

If UTEP can emerge victorious in each of its games at the Thanksgiving Classic, it will secure the best start to a season since 2015-16 (8-0).

Western Michigan is 2-2 on year, including being edged, 80-79, by Florida Atlantic (11/24/19). After being held to 55 points at Michigan (11/9), the Broncos have scored at least 79 points in three straight games.

The effort has led to WMU putting up 74.0 ppg, with four of the five starters in double figures for scoring. They are in the form of Breanna Mobley (14.5 ppg), Jordan Walker (12.5 ppg), Kamrin Reed (12.3 ppg) and Leighah-Amori Wool (11.3 ppg). WMU enjoyed four straight winning seasons before slipping to 10-20 last year. It returned three starters and seven letter winners from that squad. 

Georgia State enters this weekend at 0-4 on the season, with three off the four losses by double digits. It is 0-3 at home and 0-1 on the road. Taylor Henderson (15.0 ppg) and Taylor Hosendove (10.0 ppg) pace the attack. Shaquanda Miller-McCray has controlled the boards (10.8 rpg). The squad has been hindered by shooting 29.2 percent (68-233) and a -15.2 rebounding margin (30.3-45.5).

GSU returned its top two scorers from last season in redshirt junior Jada Lewis (13.6 ppg) and redshirt senior Allison Johnson (11.7 ppg). Lewis was second-team All-Sun Belt last year while Johnson was named to the third team and was the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year. Their efforts helped the Panthers forge a mark of 17-14.

They advanced to the WBI, the program’s first postseason appearance since 2003. 

UTEP won the only prior meeting with Western Michigan, 70-44, in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Jan. 3, 1993. The Miners have never squared off with Georgia State.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kid, with one ticket gaining admission for both games of the day. They may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234. The contests will be the fourth and fifth of seven straight at home (2-1 in stretch) for UTEP.  

The game will be streamed on CUSA.TV (subscription based).

Story in Many Pics: Miners gather to serve Thanksgiving Dinner at Salvation Army

The UTEP Men’s basketball team, along with the coaching staff,  took time out of their Thanksgiving Day to help feed the homeless in our community at the Salvation Army.

Our very own Ruben R. Ramirez was there and we share his view of the event in this ‘Story in Many Pics.’









Gallery+Story: UTEP slams East Central 91-71; Williams erupts for 33 Points

Bryson Williams scored a career-high 33 points, including the first nine points of the game, and UTEP pulled away in the second half to a 91-71 victory over East Central to remain among the ranks of the unbeaten at 5-0.

“The game tonight was an opportunity for us to try to get better against an older team, a team that we knew coming in had a really good record (4-1) and those guys can shoot the basketball,” UTEP coach Rodney Terry said.  “But more importantly, it was about us trying to get better in areas we’re still trying to improve.”

Williams made 15-of-17 shots and 3-of-4 free throws in surpassing his previous personal best of 30 points, scored against Cal State Monterey Bay when he was a sophomore (2017-18 season) at Fresno State.  He added 11 rebounds for his first double-double as a UTEP Miner and blocked two shots.

The 33 points are the most by a UTEP player since Dominic Artis also tallied 33 points versus Marshall in the Haskins Center on Feb. 4, 2016.

“My teammates really looked for me in this game and we just took care of business,” Williams said.  “I’m glad we were able to finish out the win.”

“Bryson is a really good player,” Terry said.  “He played the last game [against New Mexico] under the weather and really battled through that game.  He has had a couple of really good practices and I thought that carried over to tonight’s game.  He’s one of those guys that’s going to be on everybody’s scouting report in terms of a target.  But he’s a very unselfish player.  He’ll move the basketball when not given an opportunity to score.  He just wants to win.  He’s one of those kids that’s going to work extremely hard and try to do all the things that you ask him to do.”

The first half, and the early portion of the second half, was filled with ebbs and flows.  The Miners scored the game’s first nine points, and the lead reached double digits (15-5) on a three-pointer by Anthony Tarke with 12:49 on the clock.

Williams and Tarke combined to score 18 of UTEP’s first 21 points, with Williams single-handedly outscoring the Tigers 9-0 in the opening two and a half minutes.

East Central used an 11-2 run to get within a point (19-18) on a tip-in by Josh Apple with 7:52 remaining in the half.  The Miners were up two (23-21) before embarking on a 13-0 spurt to take their biggest lead of the half, 36-21, on a jumper by Tydus Verhoeven with 2:55 to go.

But the Tigers ended the half with nine consecutive points to draw within six (36-30) at the break.

The Miners scored the first eight points of the second half to build the lead to 14 points (44-30) but couldn’t shake the Tigers, who drew within five (47-42) on two free throws by Camron Talley with 14:32 to play.

After that, however, it was all Miners, as they scored 15 of the next 17 points to blow out to an 18-point advantage (62-44), and they weren’t seriously threatened the rest of the night.

“I thought in the first half, we didn’t come out with the right approach and the right kind of attitude that we needed for this ballgame as far as trying to improve and get better,” Terry said.  “I thought we did a much better job in the second half in terms of the mindset we needed to come out with, how hard we needed to compete, and what we’re trying to do.  We’re trying to close out November the right way in terms of really trying to have an identity that we know every day we can hang our hat on, that we’re going to guard hard and play as hard as we can on that end of the floor.”

Nigel Hawkins chipped in with 12 points and Daryl Edwards added 11 for the Miners.  Hawkins had a stellar stat line with eight assists, no turnovers and six steals in 26 minutes off the bench.  The six steals are tied for the third-top total in school history.

“He came in and gave us great energy.  I thought he came in and played with the kind of urgency that we’re talking about,” Terry said.   “We still have a relatively young team in terms of the maturity piece.  We harped on it and we talked about it the last couple of days, that every night and every day you practice, you’ve got to play with urgency.  I thought he came out and played with tremendous urgency and gave our team a really good lift with his energy.”

Heralded TCU transfer Kaden Archie made his UTEP debut, playing 24 minutes and contributing seven points, an assist and a steal.

Talley, the no. 2 scorer in Division II at 25.4 points per game coming in, scored 15 points for East Central.  Matt Garriga led the Tigers with 16 points.  The game was marked as an exhibition for East Central.

The Miners had commanding advantages in points in the paint (56-28) and points off turnovers (37-11) while receiving 43 points from their reserves.

UTEP will play at NM State on Tuesday (Dec. 3) as the Battle of I-10 continues.  The Miners, who downed the Aggies in El Paso on Nov. 12 (65-50), are seeking their first win in Las Cruces and first sweep of NMSU since the 2010-11 season.

The Miners are off to their best start in four years, but Terry said there’s still plenty of work ahead.

“We have a very high standard and very high expectations for our team,” Terry said.  “Especially in the first part of the year, it’s about us improving every single day, whether it’s with transition defense, shooting defense, or taking care of the basketball.  We want to continue to try to get better.  We’re so far away from being as good as I think we can be, and where we want to go, and what we want to do this season.  We’ve got to continue to work every day and hold each other accountable to want to be better and want to play hard and do the things that we practice.”

Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – & Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post

UTEP to play host to East Central on Thanksgiving Eve

The undefeated UTEP men’s basketball team, coming off a dramatic rivalry win over New Mexico, will look to extend its winning streak when the Miners (4-0) host East Central University (4-1) on Wednesday, November 27.

Christmas came early for UTEP head coach Rodney Terry and the Miners this holiday season when sophomore transfer Kaden Archie was announced immediately eligible late Friday afternoon. Archie, a 6-6 transfer from TCU who arrived during the midway point of last season, will suit up Wednesday night and add to an already deep squad.

UTEP has flexed its depth in 2019-20 with four players averaging double figures in scoring and the bench contributing 20.8 points per outing.

A different player has led the Miners in scoring in the first four games of the season (Efe Odigie, Bryson Williams, Deon Stroud, Daryl Edwards) for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign, when Chris Craig, Roy Smallwood, Filiberto Rivera and Omar Thomas were the leading scorers in respective games versus UT-Permian Basin, Sul Ross State, Portland State and Texas Tech.  The streak reached five games in ’03-’04 as Jason Williams led the Miners in scoring at NM State.

The Miners’ 4-0 start is their first since the 2015-16 season when they came out of the gate 6-0. UTEP is also the last undefeated program in Conference USA after WKU (5-1) took a loss to Bowling Green on November 22.

The Miners are one of four remaining Texas teams with an unblemished mark along with SMU, TCU and Texas Tech.

The biggest element to the undefeated start has been the efforts of 6-8 power forward Williams, the squad’s leading scorer at 14.3 points per game. Williams has connected on 66.7 of his field goal attempts to rank 17th nationally.

Grad transfer Daryl Edwards came up with a clutch performance, scoring 18 points against the Lobos and limiting UNM’s leading scorer JaQuan Lyle to a 4-for-12 shooting night. Sophomore guard Jordan Lathon, who has been UTEP’s go-to guy during late-game nail biters, hit the go-ahead jumper with 27 seconds left to help propel the Miners to victory.

Lathon only played six minutes (0-1 from field) in the first half during last week’s contest, but was on the floor for all 20 in the second half. All 10 of his points came during the second period on a 4-for-6 shooting effort.

East Central (4-1) is coming off an 81-80 home win against Great American Conference opponent Southern Nazarene Saturday night. The Tigers rallied from five points down at the half behind Camron Talley’s 26 points.

Gerren Jackson totaled 15 points and nine rebounds, while Josh Apple chipped in with 11 points and also grabbed nine boards.

Talley ranks second in Division II, averaging 25.4 points per game.  He is also first nationally in minutes per game (35.4), and 12th in three-point field goals made per game (4.25).  Jackson is putting up 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest. Apple is averaging a team-best 11.0 rebounds per game to rate 14th in D-II.

East Central Head Coach Ja Havens is in his seventh at the helm. The Tigers went 16-12 last season, but Havens has a trio of 20-plus win seasons under his belt.

The Tigers finished 21-10 in his second year (2014-15), while going 22-8 (2015-16) and 25-8 (2016-17) the next two campaigns.

Fans can listen live on UTEP’s flagship station ESPN 600 El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling the action and Steve Yellen with color analysis. The Miners and Tigers can also be seen on the CUSA.TV live stream.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center, single-game tickets are available by calling (915) 747-5234 or by going online. Mini plans are available by calling (915) 747-6150.

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