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Home | Tag Archives: utep basketball

Tag Archives: utep basketball

UTEP Men’s Hoops Announces 2019-20 Schedule

The new-look UTEP men’s basketball team will open the 2019-20 campaign with five consecutive games in the Haskins Center that include matchups against rivals NM State and New Mexico.

The Miners will also play at Houston while competing in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic prior to Conference USA action.

UTEP coach Rodney Terry’s squad will open on Nov. 5 against New Mexico Highlands in the Haskins Center. The Miners will then host NM State (Nov. 12), Eastern New Mexico (Nov. 15), New Mexico (Nov. 19) and East Central University (Nov. 27). Following the homestand, UTEP will play at NM State (Dec. 3).

UTEP will compete in the 58th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Dec. 16-17. The Miners will open against North Carolina A&T Monday night (Dec. 16) while taking on either UC Irvine or Kent State Tuesday night (Dec. 17).

The Orange and Blue will face a challenging road test at 2019 NCAA Tournament team Houston Dec. 19. The Cougars finished 33-4 last season, following their loss to Kentucky in the tournament.

UTEP will play at the Diamond Head Classic and will face its second consecutive March Madness participant in Washington during first-round action Dec. 22. The Miners will face either host Hawai’i or Ball State Dec. 23, while the third contest will be played on Christmas Day. On the other side of the bracket, Houston will take on Portland, while Georgia Tech will play Boise State.

Following its trip across the Pacific, UTEP will open C-USA action on the East Coast, playing at FIU (Jan. 2) and at Florida Atlantic (Jan. 4). The home portion of league action will commence against Southern Miss (Jan. 9), which will start a string of three straight conference opponents in the Sun City. The Miners will also host LA Tech (Jan. 11) and UTSA (Jan. 15) during a rare Wednesday night contest.

Three consecutive road games in the state of Texas are next on the slate, as the Miners will play at UTSA (Jan. 18), at Rice (Jan. 23) and at North Texas (Jan. 25). UTEP will host Middle Tennessee (Jan. 30) and UAB (Feb. 1), and will then play at Charlotte (Feb. 6) and at C-USA defending champions Old Dominion (Feb. 8).

The Miners will host WKU (Feb. 13) and Marshall (Feb. 15) before C-USA ‘Bonus Play’ begins. The Miners will play two more road games and two more away games prior to the 2020 C-USA Championships in Frisco, Texas, March 11-14.

The revamped 2019-20 roster will feature six transfers (6-6 sophomore guard/forward Kaden Archie, 6-3 sophomore guard/forward Souley Boum, 6-6 junior guard/forward Anthony Tarke, 6-9 sophomore forward Tydus Verhoeven, 6-11 junior forward Eric Vila, 6-8 junior forward Bryson Williams).

A pair of freshmen (6-5 guard/forward Deon Stroud, 6-3 guard Jesse Zarzuela) will grace the roster and will join six returnees (6-4 senior guard/forward Ountae Campbell, 6-6 junior forward Gilles Dekoninck, 6-10 sophomore forward Kaosi Ezeagu, 6-4 sophomore guard Nigel Hawkins, 6-4 sophomore guard Jordan Lathon, 6-9 sophomore forward Efe Odigie).

Odigie is the top returning scorer at 12.7 points per game and top rebounder at 10.1 rebounds per game. Lathon led the Miners with 74 assists, while Hawkins led the way in steals (25), minutes per game (33.8), made free throws (97) and free-throw percentage (79.5). Ezeagu led the team with 24 blocked shots.

UTEP Men’s Basketball Season Tickets, starting at $160, are on sale now by calling (915) 747-6150.

UTEP Announces 2019-20 Women’s Basketball Schedule

University officials released the 2019-20 UTEP Women’s Basketball Schedule on Tuesday.

The Miners will play a total of 18 regular season home games, beginning with the regular season opener versus UC Riverside on Saturday, November 9.

“We are very excited about the upcoming season’s schedule,” third-year UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “We will play nine non-conference home games. This is quite a bit different from years past as we have been on the road a lot in the early part of the season. We will play NM State twice and we hope to continue doing so for many years to come. We will travel to SMU for a great matchup between a Conference USA team and an American Athletic Conference team. In addition, we will have return games at home versus Weber State, Tulsa, and WNIT Champion Arizona. Perhaps the most exciting part of our non-conference schedule will be our own Thanksgiving Classic. We will square off against Western Michigan and Georgia State in the friendly confines of the Don Haskins Center. This will make for a preseason schedule that will challenge our team and get us ready for the tough Conference USA grind.”

The Miners will be home for nine of their 11 non-conference games, the exceptions being matchups at I-10 rival NM State (Nov. 13) and SMU (Dec. 19). The first nine games of the season will either be played in El Paso or within 40 miles of it, until the Miners board a plane for the first time to battle the Mustangs in the Metroplex.

UTEP’s season-opening opponent, UC Riverside, was a 17-game winner last season and tied for second place in the Big West Conference with a 10-6 mark. The Miners will face NM State twice in the month of November – on Nov. 13 in Las Cruces, and on Nov. 23 in El Paso. The Aggies are coming off a 26-7 campaign, a 15-1 Western Athletic Conference record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Miners will also host Alcorn State (Nov. 16) and long-time rival New Mexico (Nov. 19) in November. The Lobos were 24-7 in 2018-19, 14-4 in the Mountain West Conference (second place) and earned a bid to the WNIT. Tip-off for the Nov. 19 game will be 11 a.m. to attract local schoolchildren.

UTEP’s Thanksgiving Classic will take place Nov. 29-30, with the Miners meeting Western Michigan and Georgia State. Georgia State compiled 17 victories a year ago, meriting an appearance in the postseason WBI.

The Miners will face a lighter load in December with only four games, including three in the Haskins Center. UTEP will host Weber State (Dec. 4) and Arizona (Dec. 7) prior to taking a 12-day break between games for finals.

The Wildcats posted 24 victories last season and marched to the WNIT title behind junior guard Aari McDonald, who averaged 24.1 points per game. UTEP will wrap up the calendar year by playing at SMU (Dec. 19) and hosting former WAC and C-USA adversary Tulsa (Dec. 29).

UTEP will play 18 C-USA games in 2020 – up from 16 the last two years – with 14 of the 18 games set as the C-USA women’s teams will adopt the “Bonus Play” model followed by the men a year ago.

In a differentiation from the men’s model, the final four opponents of the regular season will be determined based on power rankings in December.

Five dates are penciled in to play the final four games – Feb. 22, Feb. 26, Feb. 29, March 5 and March 7 – with UTEP playing two home games and two road games during that span.

Prior to “Bonus Play,” however, the Miners will host FIU (Jan. 2), Florida Atlantic (Jan. 4), UTSA (Jan. 18), Rice (Jan. 23), North Texas (Jan. 25), Charlotte (Feb. 6) and Old Dominion (Feb. 8), and play at Southern Miss (Jan. 9), LA Tech (Jan. 11), Middle Tennessee (Jan. 30), UAB (Feb. 1), WKU (Feb. 13), Marshall (Feb. 15) and UTSA (Feb. 20).

UTEP will go on the road to face four of the top six teams from last year’s final league standings, although the Miners will host defending champion Rice, which finished 28-4 (16-0 C-USA) in 2018-19.

UTEP’s 2019-20 roster features eight returning letterwinners (senior G/F Ariona Gill, junior guard Alexa Hoy, junior guard Jordan Jenkins, sophomore guard Sabine Lipe, senior guard Neidy Ocuane, senior guard/forward Jade Rochelle, sophomore forward Ariana Taylor, senior guard/forward Katarina Zec) joining seven newcomers (junior guard Tia Bradshaw, freshman guard Avery Crouse, freshman guard Katia Gallegos, freshman guard/forward Arina Khlopkova, freshman forward Tatyana Modawar, junior forward/center Michelle Pruitt, junior forward Dejanae Roebuck). Zec is the top returning scorer at 10.1 points per game, while the Miners have added junior college standouts Bradshaw, Pruitt and Roebuck, and a vaunted freshman class that features local star Gallegos, who prepped at Franklin High School.

UTEP Women’s Basketball Season Tickets are on sale now by calling (915) 747-6150. Reserved floor seats are $120 and general admission are $60.

2019-20 UTEP Women’s Basketball Schedule   |   All times Mountain

Oct. 26                        Eastern New Mexico (EXB)                            1 p.m.

Nov. 2                         St. Mary’s (Texas) (EXB)                                1 p.m.

Nov. 9                         UC Riverside                                                   7 p.m.

Nov. 13                        at NM State                                                    7 p.m.

Nov. 16                       Alcorn State                                                    1 p.m.

Nov. 19                       New Mexico                                                   11 a.m.

Nov. 23                       NM State                                                        1 p.m.

Nov. 29                       Western Michigan#                                        3:30 p.m.

Nov. 30                       Georgia State#                                               7:30 p.m.

Dec. 4                          Weber State                                                   7 p.m.

Dec. 7                          Arizona                                                            1 p.m.

Dec. 19                        at SMU                                                            6 p.m.

Dec. 29                        Tulsa                                                               1 p.m.

Jan. 2                           FIU*                                                                7 p.m.

Jan. 4                           Florida Atlantic*                                             1 p.m.

Jan. 9                           at Southern Miss*                                          TBA

Jan. 11                         at LA Tech*                                                     TBA

Jan. 18                         UTSA*                                                             1 p.m.

Jan. 23                         Rice*                                                               7 p.m.

Jan. 25                         North Texas*                                                  1 p.m.

Jan. 30                         at Middle Tennessee*                                    TBA

Feb. 1                          at UAB*                                                           TBA

Feb. 6                          Charlotte*                                                       7 p.m.

Feb. 8                          Old Dominion*                                               1 p.m.

Feb. 13                        at WKU*                                                          TBA

Feb. 15                        at Marshall*                                                    TBA

Feb. 20                        at UTSA*                                                         TBA

Feb. 22                        TBD*                                                               TBA

Feb. 26                        TBD*                                                               TBA

Feb. 29                        TBD*                                                               TBA

March 5                       TBD*                                                               TBA

March 7                       TBD*                                                               TBA

Home games in bold  |  # UTEP Thanksgiving Classic   |   *Conference USA game
All dates and times subject to change

UTEP Basketball adds guard Keonte Kennedy

UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry made another big recruiting splash by announcing Keonte Kennedy to an already young and talented basketball roster Monday afternoon.

Kennedy, an athletic and versatile 6-foot-5 guard, is officially enrolled at The University of Texas at El Paso and will have three years of eligibility starting in the 2020-21 season.

“We’re excited about Keonte Kennedy joining our program,” Terry said. “He’s a guy who comes from a great family and came from a really good basketball program at Austin Westlake, where he had a really good high school coach, and one who we are very familiar with. We know we’re getting a guy who will come in and be a great two-way player for us. He’s a guy who has really good length and size on the perimeter. He can really defend and shoot the basketball. He’ll continue to develop his decision making as well.”

Kennedy appeared in 22 games for Xavier during the 2018-19 campaign. He averaged 12.2 minutes per game, while he scored a season-high eight points in 25 minutes of action against Illinois at the Maui Invitational.

Kennedy tallied six points against Miami-Ohio, while he grabbed a season-best five rebounds against Eastern Kentucky and posted five more against Ohio.

Kennedy starred for Westlake High School in Austin, Texas, where he averaged 14.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals per game as a senior during the 2017-18 season.

While at Westlake, Kennedy was named All-District 25 first team, 6A Regional Defensive MVP and District 25-6A Academic All-District as a senior. He also earned an all-district third team honor during his junior season.

Kennedy was highly touted coming out of high school, as he earned a four-star rating from and was ranked as the no. 25 shooting guard in the nation.

UTEP Men’s Basketball To Hold Three Youth Camps This Summer

UTEP men’s basketball head coach Rodney Terry and his staff are holding three youth camps this summer.

Information for each of the camps is found below, with interested individuals also encouraged to visit the UTEP men’s basketball camp website online.

2019 UTEP Men’s Basketball Youth Summer Camp 1

June 24-27, 2019 (M-W 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.)

Don Haskins Center

$225 (For Entire Camp)

The 2019 UTEP men’s basketball youth summer camp one will be held from June 24-27 (Monday-Wednesday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. & Thursday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.) at the Don Haskins Center and Foster Stevens Basketball Center.

The camp is open to boys and girls of all skill levels ages 6-17. The cost for the four-day camp is $225, which includes 12 hours of instruction and a camp basketball and t-shirt. Pizza will be provided for lunch each day (12-1 p.m.).

Participants can also bring their own lunch and concessions will be available. Head coach Rodney Terry, his staff and current Miners will direct campers through a variety of drills and activities. For further information or details, please contact Mark Gisbertz at


2019 UTEP Men’s Basketball Youth Summer Camp 2

July 1-3, 2019 (M-W 9 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Don Haskins Center

$195 (For Entire Camp)

The 2019 UTEP men’s basketball youth summer camp two will run from July 1-3 (9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily) at the Don Haskins Center and Foster Stevens Basketball Center. Boys and girls of all skill levels between ages 6-17 may attend the three-day camp.

The total cost is $195, which includes 18 hours of instruction and a camp basketball and t-shirt. Pizza will be provided for lunch each day (12-1 p.m.). Participants can also bring their own lunch and concessions will be available.

Head coach Rodney Terry, his staff and members of the men’s basketball team will lead campers through drills and other activities. For more information or details, please contact Mark Gisbertz at


2019 UTEP Men’s Basketball Youth Summer Camp 3

August 5-8, 2019 (M-W 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.)

Don Haskins Center

$225 (For Entire Camp)

The 2019 UTEP men’s basketball youth summer camp three will be held from August 5-8 (Monday-Wednesday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. & Thursday 9 a.m.-12 p.m.) at the Don Haskins Center and Foster Stevens Basketball Center.

Boys and girls of all skill levels between ages 6-17 are welcome to attend the four-day camp, which has a total cost of $225. Individuals will receive 12 hours of instruction and a camp basketball and t-shirt.

Pizza will be provided for lunch each day (12-1 p.m.). Participants can also bring their own lunch and concessions will be available. Head coach Rodney Terry, his staff and current men’s basketball players will oversee the action, with campers going through drills and various activities. For more information or details, please contact Mark Gisbertz at


UTEP Student-Athletes, Teams Honored At Inaugural Golden Pick Axe Awards

Golf’s Aaron Terrazas and cross country/track & field’s Lilian Koech were named the UTEP Male and Female Athlete of the Year, and women’s cross country was appointed the UTEP Team of the Year at the inaugural Golden Pick Axe Awards in the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.

Men’s Basketball’s Efe Odigie and softball’s Kasey Flores were named the Male and Female Underclassmen of the Year. Terrazas and Koech were chosen the Male and Female Upperclassmen of the Year.

Other awards presented included Best Comeback (track & field’s Sean Bailey), Unsung Hero (softball’s Ariel Blair) and the Thomas Howard Academics & Athletics Achievement Awards (volleyball’s Briana Bustillos & men’s basketball’s Ountae Campbell).

The Moment of the Year was the buzzer beater by men’s basketball’s Jordan Lathon to beat Rice, and the Community Service Award went to the softball program.

Team MVP Awards were presented to Boaz Ronoh (men’s cross country), Linda Cheruiyot (women’s cross country), Lathon (men’s basketball), Jordan Alexander (women’s basketball), Steffen Gregory and Jasmine Romo (cheerleading), A.J. Hotchkins (football), Terrazas (men’s golf), Lily Downs and Valeria Mendizabal (women’s golf), Jessica Boyce (rifle), Carleigh Simmons (soccer), Kacey Duffield (softball), Blair and Justin Garrett (strength & conditioning), Kirsten Prelle (tennis), Bailey (men’s indoor track & field), Koech (women’s indoor & outdoor track and field), Michael Saruni (men’s outdoor track & field) and Macey Austin (volleyball).

The Golden Pick Awards are organized and presented by the UTEP Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Male Athlete of the Year & Male Upperclassman of the Year – Aaron Terrazas (Men’s Golf)
Terrazas was the Miners’ top finisher at seven tournaments, and also led the team with six top-10 placements. His scoring average of 71.5 rated first on the squad. He earned his first collegiate victory at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate in October, where he tied for first place. He followed that up with his second collegiate victory, winning the Pepsi-Cola Classic outright. His 15-under par score of 201 led the Miners to the tournament title. He was named the Conference USA co-Golfer of the Week after firing a career-low score in Las Cruces. Terrazas tied for fourth place at the John Burns Intercollegiate in Hawai’i, firing a seven-under par 209 to garner C-USA Golfer of the Week honors. He began his final season at UTEP by tying for fifth place at the Golfweek Conference Challenge with a four-under-par 140.

Female Athlete of the Year & Female Upperclassman of the Year – Lilian Koech (Women’s Cross Country and Track & Field)
Koech is closing out her collegiate career in stellar fashion, having been a member of two conference championship teams during the 2018-19 athletic year. She garnered first-team All-Conference honors as the women’s cross country team captured its first league title. She was named C-USA Outstanding Senior after crossing the finish line in fifth place overall. Koech went on to lead the UTEP women’s track and field team to the title at the 2019 Conference USA Indoor Championship. Koech secured a gold and silver medal in the mile and 800 meters, respectively. Earlier in the year, she posted a personal-best time of 2:06.29 in the 800 meters, which rates fourth in program history. During the 2018 outdoor season, Koech notched a gold and silver medal at the C-USA Championships in the 1,500 meters and 800 meters, respectively. She’s putting the finishing touches on an illustrious UTEP career during the 2019 outdoor season, as she ranks in the top-25 nationally in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters.

Team of the Year – Women’s Cross Country
The Miners enjoyed a storybook 2018 season, winning their first conference championship. They took four of the top-six spots at the Conference USA Meet as Linda Cheruiyot and Winny Koech finished first and second, respectively. Carolyn Chepkosgei and Lilian Koech also merited first-team All-Conference USA honors as they took fifth and sixth place in the individual standings. Lilian Koech was appointed the Senior of the Meet and Paul Ereng was named the league’s Coach of the Year. UTEP sent Cheruiyot and Koech to the NCAA Championships. Cheruiyot was chosen the C-USA Cross Country Athlete of the Year. She finished in the top three at five meets, with a pair of first-place showings. Overall the Miners won four meets over the course of their record-breaking campaign.

Male Underclassman of the Year – Efe Odigie (Men’s Basketball)
Odigie was a member of the C-USA All-Freshman team after becoming the first Miner to average a double-double (12.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg) since the 1982 season. The 10.1 rebounds per game was a UTEP freshman record while also pacing C-USA and rating 16th in the nation. He also led the league in defensive boards per game (7.4). He produced a UTEP freshman record 11 double-doubles (second in C-USA), which was fifth among DI freshmen. He started 21 of 25 games played before missing the final four contests of the year with an injury.

Female Underclassman of the Year – Kasey Flores (Softball)
Flores burst onto the scene with two homers and a UTEP-debut record seven RBIs in the season-opening win against Creighton. She was named the C-USA Player of the Week and was an NFCA top performer for her efforts that weekend. The freshman has continued to thrive, pacing the team in RBIs (36-tied fourth in C-USA), doubles (nine) and runs scored (29). She also checks in second on the team in batting average (.358-ninth C-USA), total bases (77-10th C-USA) and slugging percentage (.626-seventh C-USA), and third in home runs (eight-tied 10th C-USA).

Best Comeback – Sean Bailey (Track & Field)
Bailey’s performance in the 400 meters at the 2019 Conference USA Indoor Championships earned him the Best Comeback Award. The transfer from Western Texas College was back in the pack during the first lap of the finals before finding his second gear and surging to victory in his heat. He claimed third place overall on the way to securing All-Conference honors after the photo finish.

Unsung Hero – Ariel Blair (Softball)
Blair has been an inspirational leader for UTEP softball the past four years. She has fulfilled her dream of playing for her hometown Miners, one she refused to give up on even after being paralyzed and in a wheelchair as a result of contracting a rare disease at the age of 14. She frequently makes highlight-reel catches in the outfield and throws out runners at the plate. She is on track to become the first Miner in program history to lead the team in steals for four consecutive seasons.

Thomas Howard Academics & Athletics Achievement Awards – Briana Bustillos (Volleyball) & Ountae Campbell (Men’s Basketball)
The Thomas Howard Academic & Athletics Achievement Awards are presented to UTEP walk-on student athletes who have excelled academically and athletically. They are presented by the Thomas Howard Foundation in honor of former UTEP football player Thomas Howard, who passed away in a car accident at the age of 30 in 2013. Bustillos played in all 99 sets and started every match for the Miners at the libero position. She ranked seventh in C-USA in digs with a team-leading 388. Campbell played in 24 games for the men’s basketball team with 10 starts. He was a recipient of a C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal (minimum 3.75 GPA).

Moment of the Year – Jordan Lathon (Men’s Basketball) Buzzer-Beater vs. Rice
There were many exciting moments during the 2018-19 UTEP Athletics year, but Lathon’s buzzer beater in a 65-64 win vs. Rice (Jan. 12) surpassed them all. The Owls led 64-63 after Trey Murphy III grabbed an offensive board and connected on a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left. Ountae Campbell’s first pass attempt was deflected out of bounds in the corner, taking time off the clock. Campbell, from the bottom corner and with 0.5 seconds remaining, threw the ball to an open Lathon. The ball took one bounce, Lathon grabbed it and nailed the jumper from the baseline just inside the three-point line. Lathon was mobbed by his teammates, coaches and fans while the referees looked at the play on the monitor. The refs declared the shot good, electrifying the Haskins Center and giving Rodney Terry his first league win as UTEP’s head coach.

Community Service Award – Softball
The UTEP softball team has gone above and beyond to achieve its goal of engaging the community. From helping with Special Olympics sporting events to volunteering at the children’s hospital, the squad has racked up 658 community service hours since the beginning of the school year. The efforts have set the standard for service for all UTEP sports.

UTEP’s Zec Receives Air Force Reserve C-USA Spirit Of Service Award

DALLAS – UTEP women’s basketball junior guard Katarina Zec was one of 14 student-athletes across the league to receive the Air Force Reserve Conference USA Winter Spirit of Service Award, as announced by the league office Wednesday.

The award is given to student-athletes who donate their time in the community, have a high academic standing and excel in their respective sports. It is presented three times throughout the year to one student-athlete at each conference institution. Wednesday’s honorees represent winter sports: men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track & field and women’s swimming & diving.

Zec boasts a 3.80 cumulative GPA while pursuing a degree in biochemistry. The native of Belgrade, Serbia, is a two-time (2017 and 2018) recipient of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal. She has also been a member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll twice (2017 and 2018).

She has been active in the community at numerous events. She has volunteered at the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation Run Together 5K Run/Walk, setting up the obstacle course for the event. She also helped at the Make-A-Wish walk for wishes, cheering on the children and families that participated in the walk. At the beginning of the year, Zec volunteered at the Alumni Picnic and played with kids in the community. She also helped hand out water to participants at the UTEP Wellness Run.

Zec started 30 of 31 games in 2018-19, ranking second on the squad in scoring (10.1 ppg), minutes per game (30.0), field goals made (108) and attempted (252) and 3-pointers made (34) and attempted (95). She paced the team in 3-point percentage (35.8, 10th C-USA) and free-throw percentage (81.8, sixth C-USA). She reached double figures in scoring in 17 contests, including the final 12 games of the year. She also pulled down 4.4 rebounds per game to tie for fourth on the team.

UTEP Bows Out Of C-USA Tourney With 66-44 Loss To Middle Tennessee

FRISCO, Texas – Senior Jordan Alexander (13 points), Katarina Zec (12 points) and Ariona Gill (10 points) all hit double figures in scoring but 11th-seed UTEP was knocked off by third-seed Middle Tennessee, 66-44, in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Conference USA Basketball Championships Thursday afternoon.

The Miners (9-22) conclude their season while the Lady Raiders (21-9) advance to face second-seed UAB in the semifinals at 7 p.m. MT/8 p.m. CT Friday.

Coming off the thrilling double-overtime victory against Marshall, UTEP was unable to conjure up that magic for a second straight day. MT scored the first seven points in the game on the way to leading by 11 (21-10) through 10 minutes of action. UTEP tried to hang tough, trailing by 10 (31-21) with 3:22 to play in the half. MT, however, got hot and scored the final 12 points in the frame to put the Orange and Blue down by 22 (43-21) heading into the locker room.

MT tallied the first seven points after the break, and UTEP was never able to get back into the contest. The Miners continued to play hard, though, outscoring the Lady Raiders (16-9) in the final frame.

“Middle Tennessee is really good and they played extraordinarily well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “I’m really impressed, but not surprised with how they played. I’m just so pleased and impressed with our team, specifically Jordan Alexander. We’re here today because of her and the strength of seven young ladies, who decided to not give up and not to be a victim of circumstances. I do we wish we would have played a little bit better and been a bit more competitive in this game.”

The Miners, who had seven players dressed for the 12th consecutive contest, still somehow played hard despite being on the court for 50 minutes in the exhilarating upset of the Thundering Herd (64-56, 2OT, March 13). The effort, though, didn’t translate into shots falling. UTEP finished at 26.8 percent (11-41) from the floor, which was hindered by a 20.0 readout (3-15) from 3-point range. The Miners did a solid job at the charity stripe, connecting on 70.4 percent (19-27).

Fittingly the senior Alexander paced the squad in her final game with the Orange and Blue. Zec, who tallied her 12th consecutive double-digit scoring effort, got it going on offense in addition to Gill. Freshman Ariana Taylor chipped in five points and five boards.

The Lady Raiders drilled 42.9 percent (24-56), including 34.8 percent (8-23) from beyond-the-arc. Included in that was hitting 3-4 from distance in the critical first quarter. Another factor in the contest was MT outrebounding UTEP, 43-23.

Alex Johnson (17 points) paced a trio of MT players in double figures with scoring.

Middle Tennessee jumped out early on UTEP, scoring the first seven points in the contest. Gill banked home a lay-up to get UTEP on the board, which was followed by a pair of free throws by Taylor to bring the Miners within three (7-4) with 6:33 to play in the opening frame. The Lady Raiders countered with five consecutive points before a driving lay-up from Zuzanna Puc halted the surge and made the score, 12-6. MT scored the next five points to get a double-digit cushion (17-6). It was back-and-forth the rest of the quarter, with the Miners trailing by 11 (21-10) through 10 minutes of action.

UTEP tried to hang tough in the second quarter, with the margin at 10 (31-21) after an Alexander pull-up jumper with 3:22 to play in the half. MT founded another gear, ripping off 12 consecutive points to put the Miners in a 22-point hole (43-21) at the break. The Lady Raiders accounted for the first seven points in the second stanza, and UTEP couldn’t recover. It did, though, continue to compete until the final whistle, which was reflected in it outscoring MT by seven (16-9) over the final 10 minutes.

The setback wraps up the 2018-19 campaign, in addition to the career of the lone senior Alexander. She made quite an impact in two years after arriving as a transfer as Baker’s first recruit. She started all but one game (61 of 62 GP) while amassing more than 500 points (540) and 350 rebounds (358) in two seasons. Alexander also demonstrated a willingness to give up her body for the betterment of the team, taking countless charges.

“These guys have a ton of heart,” Baker said. “I really appreciate what they do for our school and our community.”

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UPSET! #11 Seed UTEP Outlasts #6 Seed Marshall 64-56, In Double OT

FRISCO, Texas – Jordan Alexander (16 points), Ariona Gill (14 points) and Katarina Zec (12 points) all hit double figures in scoring to help 11th-seeded UTEP outlast sixth-seeded Marshall, 64-56, in double overtime in the opening round of the 2019 Conference USA Basketball Championships Wednesday afternoon.

The Miners (9-21) advance to lock up with third-seeded Middle Tennessee in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. MT/ 2 p.m. CT Thursday.

For most of the day, UTEP was playing catch-up. The Thundering Herd (16-14) led by 10 (31-21) late in the third quarter, but the Miners fought back. UTEP took its first lead of the game after a pull-up jumper from Alexander with 2:03 to play in the fourth quarter. It was back-and-forth the rest of the way, with Marshall’s Taylor Porter hitting a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds left in regulation to send the contest to overtime.

UTEP tallied the first four points in OT before the Thundering Herd scored six straight to pull ahead by two (52-50) with 14 seconds left. With time running down, Gill sliced through traffic for buzzer-beating lay-up in the lane to send the contest into double OT.

UTEP never trailed in the second overtime, thanks in part to Zec and Alexander both connecting on clutch triples. Marshall cut the margin to two (58-56) on a jumper by Shayna Gore (game-high 25 points), but UTEP scored the final six points in the contest to hold on for the victory in the tournament’s first double-OT contest since 2006.

The Miners have now won first-round games in consecutive years. It was the second OT contest for UTEP in program history at the league tourney (lost 72-70 previously to Marshall in 2009), and the first that went to double overtime.

“I’m so proud of our team as they were so tough today” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “Today was a testament to how it’s been all year for us. We keep plugging away, we keep trying to get better. I’m proud of our team and our perseverance.”

The Miners connected on 42.4 percent (25-59) from the floor in the contest, aided by shooting a ridiculous 62.5 percent (10-16) in the fourth quarter to help force overtime. It was a different story for Marshall, which was held to 23.9 percent (17-71), including a challenging 17.9 percent (7-39) from 3-point land.

UTEP crushed Marshall on the glass (56-39) and had a big advantage for points in the paint (34-12). The Miners, who dressed seven players for the 11th straight contest, also managed to have a big differential for bench scoring (22-3). The Thundering Herd nearly overcame that by forcing 23 turnovers while also going 15-21 on free throws. UTEP finished 9-17 at the charity stripe.

Jade Rochelle scored eight points off the bench, all in the first half, to provide a boost. Ariana Taylor added nine points before fouling out.

Neither team could get anything going offensively early on, with the score tied, 2-2, with three minutes left in the first quarter. After Marshall drilled its first of seven triples in the contest, UTEP tallied the next three points (all on Rochelle free throws) to pull even at five with 1:53 remaining in the frame. Marshall countered with a 5-0 push of its own before a lay-up by Taylor cut the deficit to three (10-7) through 10 minutes of action.

The margin was just two (13-11) with 6:07 to play after a jumper by Rochelle. Marshall heated up with back-to-back triples, putting the Miners down by eight (19-11) at the halfway point of the second quarter. The differential eventually grew to nine (20-11), but UTEP regrouped and scored the final five points in the half to make it a four-point contest (20-16) at the half.

It was back-and-forth in the third quarter before a mini 5-0 push by the Thundering Herd forced the Miners to stare down a double-digit deficit (31-21) for the first time of the tilt. UTEP refused to quit but instead rallied back for the eventual double overtime win.

Thursday’s contest against MT will be available on ESPN+. The game will also be broadcast locally on 600 ESPN El Paso with Steve Kaplowitz and Traci Miller on the call.

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UTEP Basketball’s Odigie Named to All-C-USA Freshman Team

DALLAS – UTEP basketball’s Efe Odigie was named to the 2019 All-Conference USA Freshman team, as announced by league officials Monday afternoon. Odigie is the first Miner to garner an All-C-USA Freshman honor since 2016.

Odigie averaged 12.7 points per game and 10.1 rebounds per contest. He is the first UTEP player to finish the season averaging a double-double since Terry White did so (10.1 ppg/10.2 rpg) in 1981-82. Odigie is one of nine Miners to average a double-double in a single season.

Odigie’s 252 rebounds in 25 games played are the second most by a UTEP freshman (Odigie missed the final four games due to an injury). Arnett Moultrie grabbed 302 boards in 37 games during the 2008-09 season. However, Odigie’s 10.1 rebounds per game will go down as the best average by a UTEP freshman, surpassing Anthony Burns’s 9.4 rebounds done in 1977-78. Odigie’s scoring average (12.7) will rank fifth best by a UTEP freshman.

The Houston product is the only C-USA player to finish the regular season averaging a double-double and currently still leads the league in rebounds per game. WKU’s Charles Bassey (15 ppg) ranks second at 9.9 rebounds per game. The last C-USA freshman to average a double-double was Charlotte’s Joseph Uchebo (13.2 points per game and 11.5 boards per contest in 2015-16).

Odigie recorded 11 double-doubles during the campaign, ranking second in C-USA and tied for third among Division I freshman. It’s the most double-doubles by a UTEP freshman in program history and the most by a UTEP player since Vince Hunter’s 13 in 2013-14.

The 6-9 big man registered five games of 15 or more rebounds during the season, including a career-high 20 rebounds at Marshall. The 20 boards were the most recorded by any player in a league contest this season. Odigie added 22 points against the Thundering Herd and became the first Miner since Jim Barnes to register a 20-20 game.

Barnes did so on Feb. 22, 1964. Odigie added 17 rebounds against ENMU and 15 against FIU. Odigie also recorded back-to-back 16-rebound performances (at UTSA, vs. UTSA) and was the first Miner to do so since Dick Gibbs did during the 1970-71 season. His five games of 15-plus rebounds were the most since White posted four in 1981-82.

Barnes amassed an impressive 11 games of 20-plus rebounds in 1963-64.

Odigie’s career high in points was a 24-point outing against UC Riverside, Odigie also set a UTEP freshman record by opening his career with 12 consecutive double-figure scoring games.

Odigie shot 48.6 percent (118-243) from the field (ranked 15th in C-USA) and 68.3 percent (82-120) from the foul line. Odigie chipped in 14 assists, 13 blocks and 15 steals.

Miners Edged at Middle Tennessee 48-47 in Season Finale

MURFREESBORO, Tn. – After being down by as many as nine points, the UTEP Miners fought back and had a gave themselves a chance to win the first road game of the season. But with one second remaining, Ountae Campbell’s inbound pass from full court was deflected and Middle Tennessee scratched out a 48-47 victory in the Murphy Center Saturday night.

“I challenged this group a couple days ago. I thought our guys, for the better part of the season, played with energy and effort – give or take maybe four of those where we didn’t have that kind of effort and energy we had to have and we were coming off one of those games,” Terry said. “I challenged those guys and asked them, ‘how do you want to land this plane this year?’. Because we can’t start talking about next year, until we land the plane this year. We got to go down with a fight. We cannot go down laying down, crashing and burning. I give my guys credit. They kept fighting, they kept trying to find a way and we had a chance to win the ball game.”

The Miners, with seven scholarship players and four of them being freshmen, and a limited bench with walk-ons, kept fighting all season under first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry. And despite losing its previous five games by an average of 15 points, Terry’s players answered his challenge with a competitive contest against MT.

The Miners (8-21, 3-15 Conference USA), despite shooting poorly, tallied a season-low nine turnovers that kept them in the ball game. The Blue Raiders (11-20, 8-10 C-USA) took advantage of UTEP’s short bench down the stretch as Kaosi Ezeagu and Paul Thomas both fouled out.

Thomas, in his final game in a UTEP uniform, led all scorers with 14 points and tallied three rebounds with a blocked shot.

Jordan Lathon, who played all 40 minutes in his final game as a freshman, hit a pair of late threes that kept his squad in the game. The first came at the 6:11 mark to get UTEP within three points (43-40), while the second clutch trey was made with 3:32 left in the contest that tied the game 44-44. The Miners trailed the entire ball game up to that point.

MT’s Junior Farquhar answered with a bucket of his own and Jayce Johnson connected on a pair of free throws at the 2:20 mark to go up four points (48-44).

UTEP, despite its record and struggles during the 2018-19 campaign, kept fighting. Nigel Hawkins came up with a steal, made a layup on the fast break, drew the foul and converted a three-point play with 44 seconds remaining the make it a one-point game.

The Blue Raiders on the following possession was fouled with four seconds. James Hawthorne missed both free throws, Campbell snagged the rebound and called a timeout. Campbell tried to look for Lathon for the last shot, but time expired after the attempted pass was deflected to half court and ending the ball game.

The Miners went into the locker room down 25-18, but came back with a strong second half and outscoring MT, 29-23.

Lathon played all 40 minutes for the first time in his young career and led the team with four assists. Lathon added eight points, five boards and two blocks to his stat line. Hawkins played 39 minutes and registered a career-high 10 rebounds, while also tallying eight points. Hawkins finished as UTEP’s third leading scorer at 12.6 points per game and Lathon averaged 10.9 points per contest. Lathon led the Miners with 74 assists and tallied 23 blocks at the point guard position.

Campbell recorded five points, and Ezeagu and Gilles Dekoninck each made a free throw. Evan Gilyard chipped in with 10 points, two steals and two assists. He went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe.

MT had one double-digit scorer as Antonio Green led with 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting after scoring 26 points on Wednesday in El Paso. Hawthorne registered 10 rebounds and Reggie Scurry added nine points and nine boards.

UTEP tallied six steals and three blocks.

Video+Story: Senior Night Success! UTEP Takes Down North Texas 59-51

Katarina Zec (20 points), Jordan Alexander (15 points) and Zuzanna Puc (10 points) all hit double figures in scoring, and UTEP defended with vigor in a 59-51 victory on “Senior Night” against North Texas at the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.

“We really executed the defensive gameplan for today,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “We guarded them exactly the way we wanted to. I’m proud of our bunch. We played solid offensively and really executed. It’s some of the best basketball we played all year. It’s a great time of year to be playing good basketball. We beat a good team today.”

The Miners (8-21, 5-11 C-USA) connected on 50.0 percent (23-46) of their shots, aided by a ridiculous 71.4 percent (10-14) in the second period. UTEP dished out 17 assists on its 23 made field goals, but perhaps more importantly finished with just 13 turnovers for the third consecutive contest. It was a different story for the Mean Green (14-14, 7-9 C-USA), who were held to 34.7 percent (17-49) while committing 16 turnovers that led to 18 Miner points.

While UTEP finished 7-14 (50.0 percent) at the charity stripe, it made them when it mattered. The Miners were 6-8 (75.0) in the fourth quarter. That included Alexander sinking 3-4 in the final minute, including a pair with 15 seconds left to salt away the victory.

Freshman Ariana Taylor added seven points to buoy the efforts of Zec, Alexander and Puc, but it was her defense down low that also stood out. Neidy Ocuane pitched in six points, a team-high tying five assists and four rebounds. UTEP was competitive on the glass (UNT, 32-30), with Alexander securing a squad-best seven caroms.

Anisha George tallied 19 points to go along with nine rebounds to lead the way for the Mean Green. Terriell Bradley and Charlene Shepherd each scored 10 points in the losing effort.

Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics

UTEP led for 32 minutes of the contest, and on multiple occasions was up by as many as 13.

UTEP started quickly, nailing triples on consecutive possessions to take an early 6-0 lead. UNT countered with a 6-0 push of its own to force the first tie of the tilt with 5:32 to play in the opening quarter. After the two sides traded scores, the Mean Green got a triple late from Bradley to put the Miners down by three (11-8) through 10 minutes of action.

George hit a jumper on UNT’s first possession of the second quarter, and suddenly the Orange and Blue trailed by five (13-8).

That deficit was short lived, though, as the Miners ripped off seven consecutive points over the next two minutes to regain the lead (15-13). Alexander was instrumental, tallying five of the seven points in the surge.

After UNT got a basket to tie the tilt, UTEP unleashed a 9-0 spurt to lead by 11 (26-15). It was back-and-forth the rest of the frame, allowing UTEP to carry a 30-20 advantage into halftime. The Orange and Blue outscored the visitors, 22-9, in the quarter while shooting 71.4 percent (10-14).

The Miners continued to play well as the second half started, with a corner triple by Ocuane reinstating a 13-point cushion. UNT chipped away the remainder of the frame, but the Miner lead was still seven (43-36) through three quarters of play.

Zec and Puc each connected on jumpers to start the fourth quarter off well, which also afforded UTEP a double-digit advantage (47-36) with 8:56 remaining in regulation. North Texas mounted a rally, cutting the Miners’ lead down to two (49-47) with 3:56 left. Zec hit a crucial pull-up jumper to stop the surge. After UNT got within two again (51-49), Puc drilled a jumper in the lane off a feed from Ocuane. The Miners then did enough at the free-throw line to put away the game.

UTEP will open up competition at the 2019 Air Force Reserve Conference USA Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star at 1 p.m. MT/2 p.m. CT on March 13.

The Miners will be the 11th seed and will square off against sixth-seed Marshall. It will be available on ESPN+. The game will also be broadcast locally on 600 ESPN El Paso with Steve Kaplowitz and Traci Miller on the call.

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Gallery+Story: Middle Tennessee Rolls Past UTEP 69-53

UTEP freshman Kaosi Ezeagu scored a career-high 12 points (4-7 field goals, 4-5 free throws) and tied his season best with nine rebounds, but Middle Tennessee (10-20, 7-10 Conference USA) jumped out to a big lead and never looked back as it defeated UTEP (8-20, 3-14 C-USA), 69-53, Wednesday night in the Don Haskins Center.

“We knew coming in these guys averaged 12 offensive rebounds a game and we struggled taking away one of the better things those guys do really well,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “MT got off to a great start and we just didn’t have the kind of urgency we needed for this game.”

Senior Paul Thomas was honored prior to tipoff as he played in his 113th game and made his 87th career start.

The Houston product led the Miners with 13 points on “Senior Night” after a slow start shooting the ball. Thomas scored all his points in the second half and shot 5-for-7 after missing his first 10 field goals. Thomas added seven rebounds.

Jordan Lathon scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half and registered six rebounds and a team-high three assists. Lathon added a blocked shot. Fellow freshman guard Nigel Hawkins tallied 10 points with four rebounds and two assists. Ezeagu made his sixth consecutive start in the absence of fellow freshman big man Efe Odigie, who’s out the remainder of the season due to injury.

The Blue Raiders built an 18-point lead (38-19) heading into the locker room and shot 45.5 percent from the field during the first period. UTEP allowed a season-highs in offensive rebounds (19) and overall rebounds (51).

The Miners outscored the Blue Raiders 34-31 in the second half that was fueled by a 9-0 run after being down 65-37. But UTEP was down double digits the entire night and was down by as many as 29 points at the 7:44 mark.

Antonio Green led his squad with 26 points on 9-of-22 shooting (5-13 three-point field goals). James Hawthorne tallied 18 points and Reggie Scurry chipped in with 15 points. Jayce Johnson led MT with 13 boards and six on offensive side.

Up next, UTEP will close out the 2018-19 season at Middle Tennessee on March 9. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. MT/7:30 CT.

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

Charlotte Uses Late Run to Top UTEP 68-58

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Jordan Lathon scored a game-high 25 points, but Charlotte used a 16-0 run late in the second half to get by UTEP, 68-58, on Sunday afternoon in Halton Arena.

“We been through some struggles over the course of the season,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “But I’m proud of the way the guys came out with their effort. I thought we tried really hard. When we get to the second half, it’s been a theme of us during the second part of the season. We come out and we’re missing the communication pieces. We have to take to another level, especially on the road, in terms of effective communication. We have to start the half the right way and we didn’t come out with the same kind of energy that we have to have to start the half.”

With the score tied 48-48 with 8:42 remaining in the contest, the 49ers used a 16-0 run to go up 16 points (64-48) with just over four minutes left. Lathon ended the run with his fourth three-point basket but the run proved too much for UTEP as foul trouble and turnovers prevented a comeback.

Lathon finished 10-for-19 from the field, was 4-of-8 from downtown and connected on his lone free-throw attempt. He and senior Paul Thomas (nine points, 10 rebounds) were in foul trouble with four each and sat for a portion of Charlotte’s scoring run.

After Charlotte was down eight points at the half (33-25), a Jon Davis layup and Cooper Robb three pointer got their squad within five points (35-30). In between their buckets, Thomas converted a layup on a Kaosi Ezeagu assist, while Ezeagu followed with a basket of his own to put the Miners up seven points (37-30).

Charlotte made the score 39-37 on a Jailan Haslem layup but Lathon used back-to-back buckets to put UTEP up 43-37 at the 12:49 mark. The six-point lead in the second half would be the biggest as the 49ers outscored the Miners, 31-15, the rest of the way.

Evan Gilyard scored 11 points and tallied six rebounds, while Nigel Hawkins chipped in with seven points and led the team with three assists. Gilles Dekoninck scored four points in 15 minutes of action. Ountae Campbell played 29 minutes off the bench.

UTEP only shot 3-for-4 from the foul line to Charlotte’s 16-for-17 effort. The Miners committed 17 turnovers to the 49ers’ 13.

Charlotte senior Jon Davis led his squad with 21 points and Robb recorded 16 points.

UTEP took a 33-25 lead into the locker room. The Miners only deficit was a 4-3 score early in the first half, but a Gilyard layup gave his squad the lead back and never relinquished it.

Jon Davis hit a three-point basket to get the 49ers within a point (15-14) at the 12:21 mark. Thomas followed with a made basket in the point, while back-to-back threes by Thomas and Hawkins put UTEP up 23-14, its biggest of the half, at the 9:22 mark.

Charlotte got within five points (27-22) after Davis was fouled on a three-point attempt and connected on all three free-throw attempts. But again, the Miners answered as Gilyard hit his second trey of the half to go up eight points (30-22) with just over three minutes to play in the half.

Davis converted a three-point play that got the 49ers within five points, but a Hawkins’s three put the Miners up eight points. Davis followed with a missed jumper right before the halftime buzzer.

Up next, UTEP will finish its home portion of the schedule as “Senior Night” is March 6 (7 p.m.) versus Middle Tennessee. The Miners will conclude the 2018-19 season in Murfreesboro against the Blue Raiders on March 9.

UAB Blazers Down UTEP 68-45

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Katarina Zec hit double figures in scoring for the ninth straight game with a team-high 14 points and Zuzanna Puc added 11 points but the UTEP women’s basketball team was derailed at UAB, 68-45, Saturday afternoon.

“I’m impressed with our team today because after giving up 29 points in the first quarter when UAB was just playing unconscious basketball and wouldn’t miss, we settled in and played some really good basketball,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “I was so impressed with how we guarded the rest of the way. This team is a team of character. Most teams would lay down after going through that first quarter, but they keep fighting.”

The Miners (7-20, 4-11 C-USA) dug themselves a big hole early, trailing by 19 (29-10) after the first quarter. They continued to battle the rest of the way, playing the defending regular-season champion Blazers (23-5, 11-4 C-USA) practically even (39-35) over the final 30 minutes of the contest.

UTEP had an advantage in rebounding (37-33), committed just 13 turnovers and won the bench scoring category (9-8) despite dressing just seven players for the ninth consecutive contest. However, an off shooting day (16-49, 32.7 percent) and UAB coming out of the gates locked in offensively proved too much to overcome.

The Blazers shot 73.9 percent (11-15) from the floor during the impactful first quarter. UTEP held UAB to 34.1 percent (14-41) the remainder of the contest, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tides completely. Another factor was the Blazers’ barrage of 3-pointesr (14-36), five of which came in that opening frame.

Puc flirted with a double-double with a game-high eight rebounds. Ariona Gill provided a spark off the bench with six points and five boards in 20 minutes of action. Jordan Alexander chipped in five points, six rebounds.

Rachael Childress set the tone for UAB, scoring 10 of her eventual game-high 29 points in the opening frame. She did most of her damage from distance, nailing 8-16 from beyond-the-arc. She was joined in double digits for scoring by Deanna Kuzmanic (12 points) and Katelynn Thomas (10 points).

UAB came out ready to play on its “Senior Day”, scoring the first 12 points of the game to help propel it to an 18-2 advantage just four minutes into the contest. UTEP regrouped, getting back-to-back lay-ups from Gill and Jade Rochelle to prompt a UAB timeout with the margin at 13 (20-7) with 3:56 to play in the frame. UAB kicked it back into high gear at the end of the quarter, closing the frame on a 9-2 run to put the Orange and Blue down by 19 (29-10) after 10 minutes of action.

It remained a 19-point affair (30-11, 7:15 2Q) early in the second quarter before back-to-back triples made it a 25-point differential (36-11) with 5:12 left in the stanza. The Miners struck back in the form of a 7-0 run to whittle the margin to 18 (36-18) with 2:09 left in the half. UAB had a mini push late, and the Miners faced a 22-point deficit (41-19) going into the locker room.

The Blazers scored the first seven points of the third quarter and eventually led by 28 (52-24) with 5:18 remaining in the frame. UTEP didn’t quit, however, as it pitched a shutout the rest of the quarter. It also registered six points at the other end to trim the margin back down to 22 (52-30) heading to the final frame.

The Miners creep within 19 (57-38) with 5:44 to play, but that is as close as they would get. UAB went on an 11-4 run to push the differential back to 26 (68-42) with 2:10 left before the Orange and Blue accounted for the final three points of the contest.

UTEP will wrap up the regular season with its “Senior Night” game against North Texas at 7 p.m. MT Thursday. The contest will be available on ESPN+ with Colin Deaver and Izabela McCage on the call. It will also be broadcast locally on 600 El Paso with Steve Kaplowitz and Traci Miller describing the action. Tickets are $3 for youth and $5 for adults and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

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UTEP Basketball’s Lathon Named C-USA Freshman of the Week

DALLAS – UTEP guard Jordan Lathon was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week presented by Top of the World and chosen by a vote from a media panel representing the 14-member schools.

Lathon came up with big numbers Saturday night against Rice, pouring in a UTEP freshman record and career-high 32 points. The 6-4 guard added a career-best 18 rebounds on his way to his second career double-double. Lathon set career highs in made field goals (12) and three-point buckets (six), while dishing out three assists against the Owls.

The Missouri product hit 75.0 percent (12-16) of his shots, including a 6-for-8 performance from downtown versus the Owls. Lathon started the game a perfect 7-for-7 (4-of-4 from beyond the arc). He scored 18-first half points on 7-of-8 shooting and tallied seven rebounds.

Lathon was the first Miner to hit 30 or more points since March 9, 2016.

Lathon leads the Miners in assists (67), while ranking second on the team in blocks (19) and steals (20). He’s averaging 10.4 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per contest, while tallying 11.4 points per game and 5.5 boards in C-USA games only.

The honor is Lathon’s second as he was named C-USA FOTW on Dec. 3. Overall, it’s the fifth FOTW honor for the program this season as Efe Odigie has earned it twice (Nov. 26, Dec. 24) and Nigel Hawkins was named FOTW on Jan. 14.

The Miners earned six FOTW honors in 2013-14 and five during the 2011-12 campaign. It’s also the first time in program history that a trio of UTEP freshman have earned a FOTW honor.

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