MILWAUKEE – Jordan Lathon scored a career-high 26 points and dished out a career-best six assists, while fellow freshman Efe Odigie produced his third career double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds) but Marquette (7-2) and Markus Howard (21 points) got past UTEP (3-5) on Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum.
Behind tough play, the young and spirited Miners overcame a pair of second-half, double-digit deficits.
“Marquette is a very good team and a very-well coached team. We knew coming in that we had to compete for 40 minutes. We always tell our guys, whether we get off to a good start, bad start, we got to work the game and settle in, guard some guys and get some stops. Then we can come out and execute on offense,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “We really try to establish an inside presence if we can and work the game.”
With UTEP down seven points coming out halftime and getting within five points (37-32) after Evan Gilyard and Nigel Hawkins free throws, the Golden Eagles went on a 12-0 run to go up 17 points (49-32) at the 14:41 mark. The Miners cut the lead to 12 after an Odigie layup and a Nigel Hawkins three-point bucket. But Marquette answered with a Howard made a three-pointer at the 13:02 mark to go up 15.
The fighting Miners, however, didn’t let the Big East power get the best of them. UTEP got within four points (60-56) after Lathon nailed a jumper with under seven minutes remaining in the contest.
“Once we settled down a little bit and got into our game, tried to get lost playing hard on defense and get some stops, then we got a chance to get back into the game,” Terry said.
During the first half, Marquette opened the contest with a 12-point lead (15-3) at the 12:40 mark after Sam Houser connected on a layup. UTEP chipped away at the lead, while Ountae Campbell got UTEP within a pair of points (25-23) after a made running layup at the 4:54 mark. But Marquette answered with an 8-0 run after Howard made two free throws to put his squad up 33-23.
Lathon halted the run when he hit a step back jumper with three minutes remaining in the half. With his jumper, UTEP got within seven points (37-30) after going on a 7-4 run to end the half.
Lathon scored 15 of his 26 points during the first half, while he chipped in with three rebounds and two steals in the contest.
“This is [Lathon’s] third game in a row that he played a very complete game,” Terry said. “He played with great confidence tonight and I call it ‘swag’ a lot of times. He carried himself with very good swag to compete at this level.”
Lathon scored 16 points against Northwestern State on December 1, while producing a solid outing in limited action agasint NM State on November 28.
Hawkins, after a slow start, finished with nine points, including a 4-for-5 effort from the charity stripe. Hawkins added four rebounds, two assists and two steals. Gilyard scored 10 points and tallied three rebounds.
UTEP snagged a season-high eight steals, while its 68 percent free throw percentage was also a season best.
For MU, Joey Hauser scored 15 points, while Sacar Anim tallied 14 points.
Up Next, UTEP will get a bit of a breather before its next game as it will host UC Riverside on Sunday, December 16 in the Haskins Center with a 1 p.m.
The Miners will then play in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational December 21-22. The Orange and Blue will open against Norfolk State with a 7 p.m. tip-off time. The Miners will play the winner of East Tennessee State/Wyoming the next day.
UT El Paso December 3, 2018Sports, UTEPComments Off on UTEP’s Jordan 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 is the second consecutive Miner to earn the honor after producing all-around numbers during the Miners’ two contests last week. Efe Odigie was named the C-USA Freshman of the Week on Nov. 26.
The native of Grandview, Mo., displayed an all-around effort during the last two games for UTEP. Lathon averaged 12.0 points and 5.0 rebounds. He collected five steals, two blocks and four assists in the process.
In limited action (25 minutes) versus rival NM State, Lathon tallied eight points, an assist, block and led UTEP with three steals. He shot 3-for-5 from the field, including a three-pointer.
Lathon, in 31 minutes of action, broke out for a career-high 16 points on five field goals, including a pair of treys during a 77-47 stomping of Northwestern State. Lathon added nine rebounds to lead the Miners, along with recording three assists, two steals (one led to a fast-break dunk during an 8-0 run to open the game) and a blocked shot.
Lathon was locked in on defense as the Miners allowed a season-low 47 points.
Lathon is averaging over seven points per contest and 5.0 rebounds per game. He’s dished out 16 assists, is tied for the team lead with five blocked shots and has snagged six steals in seven starts to begin his UTEP career.
With Odigie and now Lathon earning freshman of the week honors, they are the first pair of UTEP freshmen to earn the award during a single season since the 2013-14 campaign when Vince Hunter (five times) and Matt Willms were named freshmen of the week.
It’s also the first back-to-back honors for UTEP freshmen since Julian Washburn (Dec. 19) and Cedrick Lang (Dec. 26) did so in 2011.
Freshmen Nigel Hawkins (16 points) and Jordan Lathon (16) each led UTEP in scoring, while reaching career highs in points as the Miners (3-4) ran past Northwestern State (2-6), 77-47, on Saturday night in the Don Haskins Center.
UTEP opened the contest with an 8-0 lead after a Lathon steal and dunk, and the Miners never looked back. The Demons got within a point (12-11) at the 10:21 mark after a C.J. Jones made jumper. But the Orange and Blue pulled away and closed out the first half on a 25-9 run to go up 37-20 at the half.
“I thought our guys came out and again the thing is we really try to challenge our guys with is continue to try and improve and build our offense and build our defense,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “At this time of year so much is about each player trying to improve every single practice and every single game which makes it a process.”
In fact, Terry’s four freshmen combined for 50 points as Efe Odigie scored 14 points – his seventh consecutive double-digit game to begin his UTEP career, and fellow big man Kaosi Ezeagu chipped in with four points. Odigie also pulled down five boards, blocked a shot and went 4-for-5 from the charity stripe.
Besides the points for Lathon, the 6-4 guard had an all-around game as he led the Miners with nine rebounds. Lathon picked up three assists, a steal and a blocked shot.
“I really like what Jordan did tonight,” Terry said. “He worked really well with Hawkins and being young-guards they have to be able to make decisions with the ball and they did that tonight. I thought Jordan came back and really maned-up the point-guard spot for us especially with the starting rotation. He did it with some really good conviction.”
Hawkins went 4-of-8 from downtown, his first collegiate three point buckets.
“Hawkins built his confidence tonight with his scoring and he’s a young player so sometimes you live and die by your scoring which can affect your entire game” Terry said. “I thought he held his composure well when things aren’t going his way. It was good to see the ball go through the basket for him tonight and he’s one of those guys who is capable to be a scoring option throughout his career here.”
Hawkins scored all 16 of his points during the second half. Hawkins hit his first collegiate three-pointer with 3:50 remaining in the contest, then followed with another trey in back-to-back possessions. Hawkins then nailed another with just over two minutes to go and then connected on his fourth with 1:29 left in the game.
Ountae Campbell, who played 15 minutes in his UTEP debut on Nov. 28, played 16 more minutes on Saturday night, scoring a pair of points, drawing a couple charges, recorded four rebounds and dished out four assists.
Evan Gilyard led the squad with three steals, scored 10 of his 12 points during the first half and grabbed six rebounds, while Paul Thomas tallied nine points, three rebounds and a blocked shot. Kobe Magee played 26 minutes, scored three points, dished out three dimes and registered three rebounds.
UTEP combined for four blocks, six steals and turned the ball over 15 times after averaging 20 turnovers the last four games. UTEP outrebounded NSU, 40-30, while making nine three-pointers on the night to NSU’s three.
NSU only recorded four assists, while its leading scorer was DeAndre Love with eight points.
UTEP connected on 50 percent of its shots (23-46) and won the rebounding battle (37-31) but visiting Arkansas State escaped with a 67-66 win at the Don Haskins Center Saturday afternoon.
“We put ourselves in a position to win today against a very good, solidly-coached athletic basketball team,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “They just made one more play than we did.”
The Miners (2-5) led by two (66-64) before Akasha Westbrook converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to put the Red Wolves (3-4) up by one (67-66) with 13 seconds left.
UTEP called timeout to advance the ball and looked to retake the lead but it wasn’t in the cards as redshirt-junior Neidy Ocuane was called for a change with less than a second to play.
UTEP had led by as many as 10 (37-27, 8:23 3Q) early in the second half, and the margin was still at five (48-43) going into the fourth quarter. A-State put together a rally in the form of a 13-2 run at the onset of the final frame, vaulting out by six (56-50, 6:42 4Q) in the process. UTEP regrouped nicely, eventually surging back ahead after senior Jordan Alexander nailed a triple to put the Miners up by three (65-62, 00:45 4Q) late.
Peyton Martin, who paced A-State with 21 points and eight rebounds, got an offensive board and putback to make it a one-point affair (65-64, 00:28 4Q). Ocuane was fouled on the ensuing inbounds and went to the free-throw line. She split the pair, which allowed Westbrook’s and-one to serve as the game’s seventh and final lead change.
Redshirt-junior Ariona Gill (17 points), Alexander (13 points) and junior Zuzanna Puc (12 points) set the tone offensively for the Miners. Transfer Jade Rochelle pitched in eight points and a career-best nine rebounds in a personal-best 24 minutes played.
UTEP held A-State to 38.7 percent (24-62) from the floor, including just 23.5 percent (4-17) from 3-point range. The visitors compensated for that by forcing 23 Miner turnovers that were converted into 27 points. Another factor was A-State, which entered the contest leading the nation in both free throws made and attempted, going 15-26 at the charity stripe. Included in that was a 12-22 effort in the second half. UTEP was 12-13 from the free-throw line, including 8-9 in the final 20 minutes.
UTEP had a solid start, an important feat given its tendency of late to be sluggish in the opening frame. The Miners led by three (11-8) midway through the quarter after Gill cut through the defense for an athletic lay-up. It was back-and-forth the rest of the frame, with the Orange and Blue still carrying the three-point edge (16-13) after 10 minutes of action.
On the home side’s opening possession of the second quarter, Jordan Jenkins splashed home a corner three off a pass from Alexander to give the Miners their largest advantage (19-13) to that point. UTEP continued to lead as the half wore on, and it entered the locker room armed with a four-point cushion (31-27). It marked the first time since the season-opening win against Alcorn State (11/10) that the Miners outscored the opposition in both the first and second quarter.
The home side ripped off six straight to start the third frame, with Alexander making a trey and an and-one to fuel the run. The Miners continued to control as the quarter wore on, allowing them to carry that five-point lead into the final frame. To its credit, A-State was able to make enough plays to rally back and pull out the win.
UTEP will look to get back on track when it plays at I-25 rival New Mexico at 7 p.m. MT Wednesday. The game will be broadcast locally on 600 ESPN El Paso with Duke Keith on the call.
UTEP will open the month of December with a contest against Northwestern State in the Don Haskins Center, with tip-off set for 7 p.m.
The Miners (2-4) are coming off a hard-fought matchup against rival NM State on Nov. 28, while the Division I Demons (2-5) fell to Louisiana Monroe, 80-52, on Nov. 27.
“Respect every opponent and it’s about us trying to get better right now,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “We know we have to come out and compete at a very high level every night no matter who you’re playing. You saw it at the beginning of the year. It doesn’t matter what level you play, whether it’s Division II, you got to be ready to play for 40 minutes. We’re excited about another opportunity and hopefully our guys will compete at a high level. We’re also excited for the opportunity to play at home.”
UTEP last played Northwestern State on Dec. 3, 2016 in El Paso. The Demons defeated the Miners, 79-67. The Miners hold a 4-2 series advantage against the Demons as the last victory came on Dec. 19, 2013, an 84-74 triumph.
The Miners won’t take any moral victories, but after the Aggies took an 11-point lead, the Orange and Blue battled back to make it a two-point contest against a deep NM State squad on Wednesday. The Miners overcame a 13-0 run during the second half and tried to capitalize on every possession to cut the lead.
“We try to build on every possession,” Terry said. “This time of year, you’re trying to build your offense and you’re trying to build your defense. Every possession matters as you go into December.”
UTEP, after starting the season with basically two bench players, has since gained freshman Nigel Hawkins, who sat out the first two games due to injury, and Fresno State transfer Ountae Campbell. Campbell, a redshirt junior who was announced as an eligible player prior to the Battle of I-10, nailed a three-point shot and drew a charge in 15 minutes of action against the Aggies.
UTEP was led by Conference USA’s third-leading scorer (20.3 ppg), Evan Gilyard. The super sophomore led the Miners with 18 points, his fifth time pacing the team in scoring this season. Gilyard came up big, again, on the boards, grabbing nine rebounds (tied for team lead) against a long and athletic NM State squad.
The nine rebounds were the second-most during his career and he ranks second on the squad at 5.2 rebounds per contest. Efe Odigie scored 12 points against the Aggies, his sixth consecutive double-digit game, and ranks second in C-USA in rebounding (9.2 rpg). Freshman Kaosi Ezeagu came off the bench versus NMSU and played a season-high 19 minutes while supplying outstanding defense.
Ezeagu ripped down nine rebounds, tying for the team high, while he threw down a thunderous dunk during UTEP’s comeback that electrified the Haskins Center. Ezeagu chipped in with four points and tallied a steal. Freshmen Hawkins and Jordan Lathon combined for 14 points, while Lathon snagged a career-high three steals.
Kobe Magee scored two points and registered three rebounds, while Paul Thomas scored five points and tied Gilyard with three assists against the Aggies.
Overall UTEP has shot well from downtown, ranking second in C-USA in three-point field goal percentage (.374). Gilyard leads the league, hitting over 48 percent of his three-point buckets (18-for-37) and ranks fourth in three-point field goals per game (3.0). Hawkins ranks 15th in free-throw percentage (.750) and 19th in steals per game (1.5).
The Demons opened the season with a 102-62 victory over Centenary on Nov. 6, but dropped their next four contests before beating Alabama A&M, 70-66 in overtime on Nov. 23. Senior 6-8 forward/center Ishmael Lane leads NSU in scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg), while 6-4 senior guard DeAndre Love is averaging 10.3 points per game. Sophomore guard C.J. Jones leads the team with 15 assists on the year.
The Demons are averaging 66.9 points per game and allowing over 77 points per contest. As a team, NSU is shooting over 38 percent and giving up over 44 percent. Northwestern State is averaging 37.6 rebounds per contest, but giving up over 42 per game.
Single-game tickets, starting at $8, are available by calling (915) 747-5234. Fans can listen live on KOFX 92.3 with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher and Steve Yellen. The Spanish broadcast can be heard on ESPN Deportes 1650AM with Omar Ropele and Abel Rodriguez.
The Miners and Demons can also be seen on the CUSA.TV live stream.
The second round of the Battle of I-10 was a hard-fought contest as NM State (5-1) slipped past UTEP (2-4), 62-58, on Wednesday night in front of a loud and energetic Miner faithful at the Don Haskins Center.
NM State took an 11-point lead (44-33) in the second half after AJ Harris made a three-pointer at the 14:12 mark. The Aggies were on a 13-0 run after the Miners had taken a 33-31 lead after a good Paul Thomas jump shot.
But unlike the previous game on Nov. 9, the Miners fought back and made it an exciting contest for the 6,000-plus fans.
“We have made a lot of progress obviously with our group. There is still a lot of room to grow in a lot of different areas,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “Again, I give my guys credit for battling back. Two weeks ago, 11 minutes to go, and they go on a run we are probably not withstanding that. So, we have grown in that regards to know it is a long game, and that there are still a lot of possessions in this game and that this game is still a long way from being over. We put ourselves in position to win the game down the stretch now you have to execute down the stretch.”
Kaosi Ezeagu brought the Miners within five points (47-42) after he threw down a thunderous dunk at the 9:59 mark that got everyone in the out of their seats. Ezeagu, who led the Miners with nine rebounds, played great defense down the stretch that helped keep the Miners in the contest. He chipped in with four points and a steal.
Evan Gilyard, who led the Miners with 18 points, brought his squad within four points (49-45) after he connected on a pair of free throws at the 8:50 mark. And for every Aggie made basket, the Miners would answer with their own.
Efe Odigie, UTEP’s other double-digit scorer (12 points) on the night, connected on a mid-range jumper in the paint to make the score 54-50 with just over six minutes remaining in the contest. Fellow freshman Nigel Hawkins, after a made jump shot by Ivan Aurrecoechea, was good on a layup to make the count 56-52 with under five minutes remaining in the contest.
The Miners would then get within two points on two occasions. Odigie used his soft touch to connect on another midrange jumper on the baseline, making the score 56-54 at the 3:51 mark. And after a made lay in by Harris, Gilyard drove to the bucket and made a layup, getting UTEP within a pair of points (58-56) with under two minutes remaining in the contest.
But the Aggies made plays down the stretch, as Terrell Brown was good on a jump shot with 15 seconds remaining, boosting his team up four points. Odigie made another mid-range jumper with six seconds to go off an assist from Hawkins, but Brown, after being fouled, connected on his two free throw attempts to put the game away.
“I tip my hat to my guys in terms of their effort and obviously, the resilience that they showed to hang in there against some adversity,” Terry said. “To continue to battle back and keep putting ourselves in position to have an opportunity to be successful. At the end of the day like I say to our guys we play to win, we do not play to play close. When we get a little taste of that, and we get a feel for that and what that all takes then this group will continue to take steps forward.”
The Miners found themselves down 28-26 at the half after they had led by five points (24-19) after Hawkins made a layup at the 3:42 mark. But the Aggies finished the half on a 9-2 run.
Ountae Campbell was made eligible prior to the contest and played 15 minutes in his UTEP debut. The transfer from Fresno State made a three-pointer and drew a charge during the first half. Hawkins scored six points, while Jordan Lathon put in eight points. Thomas chipped in with five points and Kobe Magee scored two points.
UTEP will host Northwestern State on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post
OGDEN, Utah –Senior Jordan Alexander produced her first double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) of the year while junior Katarina Zec added a season-high 15 points but a slow start doomed UTEP in its 68-63 setback at Weber State Wednesday evening.
The Miners (2-4) were sluggish at the onset, with the Wildcats (3-3) capitalizing in the form of a 15-0 run over the first five minutes of the game. UTEP went to work from the point on, getting the deficit all the way down to two (43-41, 4:07 3Q) midway through the third quarter. WSU responded five a 5-0 run and the Miners couldn’t get closer than five the rest of the way.
“It’s the same story we’ve had the past four games. We just dug ourselves too big of a hole to climb out of,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “We just didn’t shoot the ball well, particularly early. When you’re down that much, every little bitty thing you do wrong is magnified by 10. There were some bright points, but bottom line we’ve just got to play better.”
UTEP piled up 15 assists on 22 made field goals, while tying for the fifth-fewest turnovers (six) in program history. The boards (42-41, WSU) were competitive as well but the home side found some separation with its shooting. WSU nailed 44.2 percent (23-52) from the field, including drilling 10-21 (47.6 percent) from 3-point range. Conversely, the Miners finished at 29.7 percent (22-74) from the floor. UTEP hit a season-best nine triples but needed a campaign-high 33 attempts to do so.
Zec drilled a quartet of triples while Alexander connected on 3-6 from beyond-the-arc. Jade Rochelle came off the bench to contribute career bests in both points (eight) and rebounds (eight), while Alexa Hoy added nine. Ariona Gill chipped in six points and career-high six boards.
WSU was led by a near triple double from Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman, who finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. She was buoyed by Emily Drake (18 points, six boards).
The Orange and Blue were hindered with the aforementioned 15-0 run. The Miners got on the board with a lay-up by Rochelle, followed by a driving score from Gill. The teams traded baskets the remainder of the frame, with the Wildcats armed with a 22-10 advantage through 10 minutes of action.
WSU tallied the first five points of the second quarter to grab its largest lead of the contest at 17 (27-10, 8:54 2Q). The margin was 15 (30-15, 6:14 2Q) before Zec started to heat up. She banged home triples on consecutive possessions to bring the Miners within single digits (31-20, 5:33 2Q) and force a Wildcat timeout. It paid dividends in the form of a trey, one of seven in the half for WSU. This time Alexander answered with her own 3-pointer, but the Wildcats were able to carry a 12-point cushion (36-24) into the locker room.
Zuzanna Puc converted on a reverse lay-up on UTEP’s opening possession of the second half. After the Miners got a stop, Alexander nailed another triple to bring UTEP within seven (37-29). WSU was able to push the differential back to 10 (41-31) before UTEP ripped off seven consecutive points in the blink of an eye to get right back into the game. A lay-up ended the surge, but Zec was pure from distance on the next possession to bring the Miners within two (43-41). The home side had an answer, however, and UTEP’s comeback bid would fall short.
The Miners return home to square off against Arkansas State at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling 915-747-5234.
UT El Paso November 26, 2018Sports, UTEPComments Off on UTEP’s Gilyard Named C-USA Player of the Week, Odigie Freshman of the Week
IRVING, Texas – UTEP men’s basketball swept the Conference USA weekly honors as Evan Gilyard was named Player of the Week and Efe Odigie was honored as Freshman of the Week announced by league officials on Monday.
Gilyard, ranked third in Conference USA in scoring (20.8 ppg), averaged 25.5 points per contest and 7.0 rebounds per game in UTEP’s last two games. Gilyard also set career numbers in the process with his sharpshooting.
Gilyard opened the week with a 29-point performance (matched career high) during the Miners’ victory against Eastern New Mexico.
The sophomore connected on a career-high 11 field goals from the field but really shined on the boards as he pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds, including five on the offensive side. Gilyard followed with his fourth 20-plus point effort (22 points) of the season in a hostile environment at The Pit. Gilyard went 5-of-9 from downtown and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Gilyard also recorded a steal and assist with a trio of rebounds against the Lobos.
Odigie, the only player averaging a double-double (14.8 ppg, 10.2 rpg) in Conference USA and the league leader in rebounding, averaged 13.0 boards per game and 12.5 points per contest during his last two games. Odigie ripped down a career-high and single-game C-USA best 17 rebounds on Nov. 19 during a win against Eastern New Mexico.
Odigie also scored 14 points, leading to his second consecutive double-double. At New Mexico, Odigie came up a rebound short of his third straight double-double. Odigie also recorded his first career assists (three) against the Greyhounds. Odigie scored 11 points against the Lobos on 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-4 at the charity stripe, while connecting on a pair with ease down the stretch to keep the Miners in the ball game.
The big man played with urgency in the loud environment at The Pit, tallying a blocked shot, steal and five offensive rebounds. Odigie set the tone for the game when he dove for a loose ball in the opening minutes against the rival Lobos.
Monday’s honors were the third time since joining C-USA that the Miners received both Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week. Vince Hunter (FOTW) and John Bohannon (POTW) earned theirs on Dec. 30, 2013, while Cedrick Lang (FOTW) and Michael Perez (POTW) earned it on Dec. 26, 2011.
UT El Paso November 24, 2018Sports, UTEPComments Off on Miners Come Up Short, UNM Wins 84-78 at ‘The Pit’
ALBUQUERQUE – In a hard-fought contest, five Miners scored in double-digits figures and UTEP outrebounded New Mexico, but the Lobos used late three-pointers to claim an 84-78 victory in The Pit on Saturday night.
Freshmen Nigel Hawkins (12 points) and Jordan Lathon (10 points) each hit career highs, while Lathon paced the Miners with four assists. Efe Odigie (11 points), the Conference USA leading rebounding entering the game Saturday night, came up a rebound short of his third consecutive double-double, Paul Thomas scored a season-high 16 points and Evan Gilyard (22 points) led the squad in scoring for the fourth time this season, connecting on 5-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Defensively, UTEP battled, as it registered season highs in blocked shots (seven) and steals (seven). Thomas and Kaosi Ezeagu registered a pair of blocks apiece, while Odigie, Lathon and Hawkins each registered one. Hawkins led the team with two steals.
But after a 34-29 UTEP advantage at the half, New Mexico (3-1) used a big second half, outscoring UTEP (2-3), 55-44, during the second half, while connecting on 8-of-11 three-pointers.
“We fought and we battled hard tonight. I thought we did a nice job guarding in the first half, I thought we finished possessions and for the game, we we’re plus five on the rebounding side,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “Those were definitely bright spots for us in this game. In the second half with our shooting defense we would have to guard [Anthony] Mathis and [Dane] Kuiper. Those are two key guys that can scored for [New Mexico]. They got some air space and you have to give those guys credit.”
Zeros were on the board till the 16:16 mark when Ezeagu ripped down an offensive rebound and put the ball back in the hoop for the games’ first points as the Miners opened the ball game with a 7-0 run. Lathon put his team up 5-0 on a three-point bucket and Thomas converted a layup at the 12:59 mark.
UNM finally got on the board on a Vance Jackson three pointer following Thomas’s layup.
The Miners took advantage of New Mexico’s poor shooting during the first half (7-of-30) and built 10-point leads on multiple occasions.
The first came on Lathon’s second made trey at the 7:45 mark, making the count 17-7, Hawkins put the Miners up 21-11 on two made free throws (6:30), Gilyard made a three-point basket at the 5:43 mark (23-13) and Thomas converted a three-point play to made the score 26-16 at the 5:12 mark.
However, the Lobos outscored UTEP 13-8 the remainder of the half to cut the deficit to five points heading into the locker room
The Miners came out of the tunnel and built their lead to seven (40-33) after a Lathon two-point jumper at the 18:22 mark and again at the 15:19 mark when Odigie made the score 47-40 on a basket in the paint.
But the Lobo’s 11,000-plus fans were loud and hostile during the second half. Anthony Mathis put his squad up 55-53 on a three-pointer at the 12:11 mark and UNM never trailed again. The Miners tied the ball game at 57-57 on a Lathon mid-range jumper (9:44) and Thomas tied the game on a layup at 59 apiece with just over eight minutes remaining in the game.
Even though UNM kept making big baskets down the stretch, the Miners would answer. Vance Jackson’s layup put UNM up 69-62, but Gilyard responded with a three-pointer at the 5:53 mark.
After exchanging baskets during the next few minutes, Odigie converted a pair of free throws with ease to get the Miners within two points with just over two minutes remaining. But Kuiper and Jackson made clutch three-pointers down stretch. Hawkins converted two free throws and made a layup on a fast break to keep the Miners within striking distance. But it wasn’t enough in the end.
UTEP outrebounded UNM, 37-32, while tallying 12 assists. Gilles Dekoninck played over six minutes, registering a point and two rebounds, while Kobe Magee played over 24 minutes. He recorded two assists, two rebounds and a steal. Ezeagu scored six points and pulled down five rebounds. He scored four of his points off a pair of offensive rebounds.
“My young guys are definitely growing up every night,” Terry said. “This was a great growing experience for us in a hostile environment. The thing I’m proud of tonight is we had a lot of resistance tonight. There have been games where there has been hostile environments and we haven’t had a lot of resistance to stay in games to make it a game down the stretch. We did that tonight.”
Mathis was perfect from downtown (4-for-4 all in the second half) as he led the way for UNM with 18 points and Jackson chipped in with 12 points. Makuach Maluach scored 13 points on 3-of-4 three-point shooting.
UTEP will host rival NM State in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 on Wednesday, November 28 in the Don Haskins Center with tip-off set for 7 p.m.
UT El Paso November 24, 2018Sports, UTEPComments Off on Gallery+Story: Abilene Christian Tops UTEP 70-69 at The Don
Ariona Gill poured in a career-high 22 points while Zuzanna Puc added 18 points but visiting Abilene Christian outlasted UTEP, 70-69, in the final game of the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic at the Don Haskins Center Saturday evening.
The Miners (2-3) trailed the Wildcats (6-0) by as many as 15 (23-8) in the opening quarter but they slowly but surely chipped away at the deficit. UTEP reduced the margin to seven (37-30) at the break before managing to take a one-point edge (50-49) heading to the fourth quarter.
It was a back-and-fourth battle down the stretch, with ACU going back on top for good with a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left. An unlucky pass led to Gill having to race down the ball before heaving up a desperation 3-poiner at the buzzer.
UTEP drilled 52.5 percent (31-59) from the floor while also committing the fewest turnovers (nine) of the Kevin Baker era but ACU was locked in offensively as well. The Wildcats drilled 51.1 percent (24-47) of their shots, including draining 14-28 (50.0) from beyond-the-arc. They also won the boards, 29-23.
“I thought our team got a lot better today,” Baker said. “I was really impressed with how we battled as a team. We moved the ball so much better this game than we did yesterday. We have to learn to be tough and get through it. We were one inbounds pass away from winning the game so we’ll hang our hat on that and figure out a way to get better before our next game.”
Katarina Zec pitched in 11 points to join Gill and Puc in double figures. Four different Miners registered five assists each to help UTEP pile up a season-best 24 assists. Dominique Golightly (18 points) and Makayla Mabry (17 points) led the way for ACU. The duo combined to make 10-17 from 3-point range.
ACU came out firing, racing out to a 23-8 lead through 10 minutes of action. Mabry was instrumental in the opening frame for the visitors, tallying 14 points in the period. She nailed 4-5 from beyond the arc in the stretch.
UTEP ripped off seven straight points to open up the second quarter on a high note. Gill got is started with a lay-up, which was followed by a trey by Zec and a baseline jumper from Alexa Hoy. After the Wildcats extended the advantage back to 13 (34-21) with 4:47 left in the half, the Orange and Blue scored the six points to get within seven (34-27). It remained a seven-point differential (37-30) going to halftime.
The visitors continued to lead by seven (46-39) with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter but UTEP peeled off six straight points to inch within one (46-45). ACU pushed it back out to four following one of its 14 triples in the contest, but UTEP closed the stanza strong to take the one-point margin (50-49) into the final frame.
UTEP used a lay-up from Gill to push its cushion to three (52-49) early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats stroked back with a 13-6 run to lead by four (62-58) with five minutes to play. UTEP countered and regained the lead on a trio of occasions from that point but a back-luck turnover with 16 seconds left when ACU was trying to foul gave the visitors the break they needed. The free throws were converted on the subsequent possession and Gill’s circus-like shot refused to fall.
The Miners will return to action when they play at Weber State at 7 p.m. MT Wednesday.
UT El Paso November 23, 2018Sports, UTEPComments Off on UTEP’s Comeback Bid Falls Short In 58-56 Loss To Nicholls State
Ariona Gill (14 points) and Jordan Alexander (season-high 12 points) hit double figures in scoring as UTEP rallied back from a 17-point second-quarter deficit to regain the lead several occasions in the fourth quarter only to have visiting Nicholls State pull out a 58-56 win as part of the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic at the Don Haskins Center Saturday afternoon.
The Miners (2-2) trailed 28-11 with 2:56 to play in the second period but they refused to quit against the Colonels (1-4). The home side used a huge third quarter (23-12) to get back within striking distance heading to the final frame. UTEP continued its push in the fourth quarter, going up by three (45-42) with 7:44 left.
Nicholls State countered with eight straight points to vault out by five (50-45) before the Miners tallied the next six points to jump ahead by one (51-50). It was a seesaw battle the rest of the way, with a pair of free throws from Cassidy Barrios providing the seventh and final lead change with 52 seconds left. UTEP had a chance to tie or win it with two seconds left, but was unable to get a shot off.
Barrios produced a game-high 22 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists to lead the way for Nicholls State. She was supported by a nine-point effort from Kinzie Heineman.
UTEP connected 42.6 percent (20-47) from the floor, including 8-20 on 3-pointers, while also committing a season-low 13 turnovers but issues elsewhere doomed the home side. The Miners were 8-17 on free throws and were outrebounded, 34-27.
“We lost game in the first half,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “I have to do a better job of getting our team ready to play. We played better in the second half because we played with a better sense of urgency.”
UTEP started off well, scoring the first five points of the contest. The advantage remained five (9-4) with 4:08 to play in the period before the Colonels ripped off five straight points to pull even (9-9). UTEP regained the lead after a pair of free throws from Gill but a lay-up to beat the buzzer knotted the game at 11 through 10 minutes of action
The home side went cold in the second stanza, allowing Nicholls State to tally the first 17 points in the frame to vault out to a 28-11 advantage with 2:56 to play in the half. UTEP whittled the deficit down to 13 (30-17) heading to the locker room. The margin was nine (38-28) with 4:38 left in the third quarter before UTEP started to make its move. The Miners uncorked a 12-2 surge over the next four minutes to tie the tilt at 40 before a Barrios jumper gave Nicholls State a two-point edge (42-40) going into the fourth quarter.
UTEP tallied the first five points of the final frame, using a jumper from Gill and one of a career-high four 3-pointers from Alexander to grab that 45-42 edge. Nicholls responded with the aforementioned 8-0 run, aided by back-to-back treys from Heineman. Another Alexander triple was followed by an old-fashioned 3-point play by Katarina Zec to put UTEP back on top. Nicholls State peeled off five straight to put UTEP down by four (55-51) with 2:09 left. The Miners scored five straight to regain the lead, and it appeared as if they could claw out the victory. It was not to be, though.
UTEP will wrap play at its Thanksgiving Classic by facing undefeated Abilene Christian (5-0) at 7 p.m. MT Saturday. Nicholls State will face Texas Southern at 5 p.m. MT Saturday. One ticket serves as admission for both games. They are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
UT El Paso November 22, 2018Sports, UTEPComments Off on UTEP, New Mexico Ready to Battle at The Pit Saturday Night
UTEP will travel to Albuquerque and square off against long-time rival New Mexico on November 24 at The Pit.
“Paul [Weir] has done a great job revitalizing the program out there,” first-year UTEP Basketball Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “His older returning players and core guys that he inherited really made a difference in his program a year ago. I thought he sprinkled in a good group of guys that were bling guys for him last year. He’s in his second year and they’re playing very similar to the way they did last year. They’ve added a couple of transfers that are really good players — Vance Jackson coming in from UConn, and [Anthony] Mathis is back – a very good three-point shooter.”
The Miners will play at UNM for the first time since 2016, while the two teams will meet for the 144th time during the long-standing rivalry.
UTEP defeated New Mexico behind Kobe Magee’s career-high 16 points last season in El Paso, 88-76, while the Lobos edged the Miners, 78-77, on Dec. 7, 2016 in Albuquerque. The Lobos lead the all-time series 77-66.
UTEP last won at The Pit on Jan. 6, 2008 – a 73-60 victory.
“Anytime you go up the road to play at The Pit, we know it’s going to be a difficult place to play,” Terry said. “I have a lot of respect for their program and a lot of respect for Paul and how he runs the program.”
Terry’s Fresno State squad split its two contests against New Mexico last season, winning 89-80 in Fresno, Calif., and falling in overtime, 95-86, at The Pit to close out the regular season.
The Miners (2-2) are coming off a 66-59 victory over Eastern New Mexico on Nov. 19 as Evan Gilyard scored a season-high 29 points (matched career high) and pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds, while drawing five charges.
Efe Odigie also had a career night, recording his second consecutive double-double after ripping down a career-high 17 rebounds and scoring 14 points. Odigie also blocked a shot and recorded his first career assists (three) against the Greyhounds.
Paul Thomas registered a season-high 10 rebounds and chipped in with nine points, while Jordan Lathon tallied four rebounds, three assists and two points on a dunk. Kobe Magee came off the bench and led the Miners with four assists, while connecting on a three-point bucket, and Kaosi Ezeagu scored six points with three rebounds in his first career assist.
Nigel Hawkins made his first start in front of the Miner faithful against ENMU, scoring three points with an assist and two rebounds. Hawkins missed the first two games of the season due to injury and has averaged 31.0 minutes in his first two starts.
Gilyard is leading the Miners in points per game (20.5) and assists (11), while Odigie leads Conference USA in rebounds per contest (10.5). Odigie is the only Miner to score in double digits in all four games (15.8 ppg). Thomas is third on the team at 10.8 points per game and averages 6.0 rebounds per contest.
Magee, after logging all 40 minutes in each of the first two games, has come off the bench during the last two contests. He’s tallied 10 assists and is averaging over five points per game.
The Miners are averaging 67.8 points per game, while shooting over 43 percent from the field, including 37 percent (27-74) from beyond the arc.
The Lobos (2-1), after winning their first two ball games, recently fell to NM State in a high-scoring affair, 98-94. UNM’s 6-9 guard/forward Jackson led the team with 27 points and six rebounds, while senior guard Mathis came off the bench to score 22 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting.
Forward Corey Manigault registered 20 points in the loss. New Mexico opened the campaign with an 87-84 win at Cal State Northridge, and chalked up win no. 2 with a 90-83 triumph over Iona at The Pit.
The Lobos are averaging over 90 points per game and giving up over 88 points per contest. As a team, they are shooting about 45 percent from downtown (34-76). Manigault leads the team at 18.7 points per game, while Jackson is putting up 17.3 points per contest. Jackson also paces the squad in rebounds per game (8.7), while Mathis (16.0 ppg) has dished out a team-leading seven assists.
Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. and the contest can be seen on the Mountain West Network.
Evan Gilyard recorded his first career double-double and Efe Odigie powered his way to a second consecutive double-double, leading UTEP (2-2) to a 66-59 victory over Eastern New Mexico on Monday night at the Don Haskins Center.
Though the Miners won, it wasn’t easy as the Greyhounds kept is close till the end.
“We’re going to be in ball games all year that are going to be close,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “I told our guys earlier in the year, we have to be the hardest playing, scrappiest team in the country in terms of how hard we have to play. We’ve done it before with teams in the past and the buy-in piece is we have to continue to do that every night. We’re not going to come in and outjump teams, but we can have physical block outs. Lowest man always wins, not the guy who jumps the highest. We have to continue to work on those areas of improvement, like taking care of the ball. We have to do a better job taking care of the ball.”
Gilyard and Odigie came up with big performances, while combining for the game’s last six points that gave UTEP the seven-point victory.
Gilyard ripped down a career-high 11 rebounds (five offensive) and matched his career best with a season-high 29 points in 36 minutes. Gilyard, after averaging just over nine points per game his freshman campaign, has upped that number to 20.5 in the early going.
“You don’t just come out and score like that without putting any work into it,” Gilyard said. “I worked hard over the summer and I’ve been working on my craft since I started playing basketball. I try to prove people wrong and just work hard every day in the gym to have nights like this and be able to contribute to the team.”
Odigie amassed a season-high 17 boards and tallied 14 points. His transition from high school to college has been a challenge, but Odigie has responded by averaging over 15 points and over 10 rebounds per game in his first four collegiate contests.
“It’s been tough, especially the first couple months coming in to the college level,” Odigie said. “It’s way different from high school and getting used to the pace. But coach [Terry] has been talking to me every day about going hard in practice. Playing all these minutes makes everything easier and it’s slowing down. Being a freshman, I’m just trying to take advantage of the minutes I have now.”
The Miners were challenged as the Division II Greyhounds played them tough on the night.
After being down 33-27 at the half, ENMU came out of the locker room and went on an 18-7 run to take a 45-40 lead at the 15:37 mark after a tip-in by Chukuka Emili.
But after a timeout and encouraging words from Terry, the Miners responded with a 13-5 run to take a 53-50 lead after a Paul Thomas offensive rebound and put-back at the 9:22 mark. The run started with a Kaosi Ezeagu jumper in the paint, while the freshman tallied a layup to get UTEP within a point (45-44). After a made jump shot by Darius Sawyer, Thomas answered with a three-pointer to tie the ball game at 47-47.
Gilyard used one of his five offensive rebounds to draw a foul and then connect on a pair of free throws, giving his squad a two-point lead (49-47).
The Greyhounds made things interesting after tying the game 57-57 with under five minutes to play, while coming within a point on multiple occasions. After a good jumper by Bryce McAlister to make the score 60-59 at the 3:03 mark, UTEP scored the next six points to close out the ball game as Odigie made a trio of free throws down the stretch, and Gilyard connected on a free throw and jump shot to solidify the victory.
Gilyard not only played great offensively, but defensively, he showed toughness by drawing five charges.
“Evan spent a lot of time working in the gym and shooting the ball a lot,” Terry said. “We need him to score for us. Tim Floyd said when I took the job that, ‘you really don’t want him as a point guard, you want to make him a two, he’s really a two’. He’s a guy I really tried to challenge to want to be a two-way player because defensively, he can bring a little something to the table, especially on the ball. He’s getting better off the ball but he’s a fierce competitor. We needed him and the team to take charges because [ENMU] was going to try and attack the paint.”
The Miners outrebounded the Greyhounds 50-35, while recording 13 assists.
Kobe Magee dished out four of those dimes and hitting a three-point bucket during the first half in 29 minutes of action. Ezeagu came off the bench to score six points with three rebounds in nine minutes. Nigel Hawkins made his first start in front of the Miner faithful, scoring three points and leading the team with three steals. Jordan Lathon scored two points on a fast break dunk off an assist by Ezeagu in the second half. Thomas came up a point short of a double-double as he recorded 10 rebounds on the night.
Odigie also added a block and recorded his first career assists (three), playing a season-high 31 minutes.
“The big fellow has a different role [at UTEP] than what recruited him for [at Fresno State],” Terry said. “We recruited him as a developmental guy who we were going to bring along. He was going to play behind a lot of older players and he wasn’t going to be a focal point of what we’re doing. But you fast forward and we have him here and he’s got to play right now. His growth curve had to chance on day one. We started the summer with his conditioning. His conditioning was going to be a big part of him being able to stay in games, compete at the level that we wanted him to compete. He bought into it and lost 20 pounds. He’s a guy who’s very gifted – from an offensive standpoint and I like what he’s doing.”
The Miners shot over 42 percent and scored 40 points in the paint, along with 21 second-chance points.
ENMU was led by Maurice Coleman’s 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and Devin Pullum chipped in with 10 points.
Up Next, UTEP will take on rival New Mexico on Nov. 24 in The Pit. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald-Post
UT El Paso November 18, 2018Sports, UTEPComments Off on Miners to Host Eastern New Mexico at the Haskins Center
After a pair of road tests at NM State and Arizona, UTEP (1-2) will return home for a Monday night contest against Eastern New Mexico (0-3).
The Miners are Greyhounds are facing each other for the first time in 43 years. The two programs last met on Jan. 4, 1975 during a 73-50 UTEP victory in El Paso. UTEP and ENMU first met during the 1944-45 season.
The Miners are coming off a loss at national power Arizona on Nov. 14. UTEP’s highly-touted freshman guard Nigel Hawkins made his collegiate debut in the McKale Center, scoring seven points with six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Hawkins struggled from the field, but did connect on 5-of-6 free throws, while he tied for the team lead in assists.
Fellow freshman Efe Odigie produced his first career double-double, leading the Miners in rebounds (11) and tallying 13 points against the Wildcats’ experienced frontcourt. Odigie went 5-of-8 from the field coming off the bench for the first time this season during a season-high 28 minutes of action.
Odigie has opened his UTEP career with three consecutive double-digit scoring games. The Houston native tipped off the campaign with a 23-point performance versus UT Permian Basin, while recording 13 points at rival NM State.
Senior Paul Thomas led the Miners with a season-high 14 points, while chipping in with six boards and tied Hawkins for the team lead with three assists. Thomas went 6-for-10 overall from the floor and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The Greyhounds opened the season with an 82-74 loss to Fort Lewis on Nov. 9, while falling at N.M. Highlands, 87-76, the next day. ENMU recently suffered its third loss, 85-68, versus St. Edwards at the Ed Messbarger Tip-Off Classic on Nov. 16.
Chukuka Emili opened his senior campaign with a 21-point, nine-rebound effort in 36 minutes against Fort Lewis. The 6-8 forward followed with a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) in ENMU’s second game, while producing his second double-double (10 points, 11 boards) against St. Edward’s.
Against N.M. Highlands, junior Isaiah Murphy led the Greyhounds with 17 points off the bench, while Zach Parker added 16 points.
ENMU will take on Jarvis Christian Saturday night (Nov. 17) on the second day at the Ed Messbarger Tip-Off Classic in San Angelo, Texas.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center. U Fans can listen live on KOFX 92.3 with ‘The Voice of the Miners’ Jon Teicher and Steve Yellen.
The Spanish broadcast can be heard on ESPN Deportes 1650AM with Omar Ropele and Abel Rodriguez. The Miners and Greyhounds can also be seen on the CUSA.TV live stream.
TEP season tickets are available by calling (915) 747-6150.
UT El Paso November 15, 2018UTEPComments Off on UTEP Men’s Basketball Inks a Pair of Texas’ Top Guards for 2019-20 Season
UTEP Basketball Head Coach Rodney Terry announced the signings of two guards from the state of Texas on Thursday.
Jesse Zarzuela, a 6-foot-3 playmaker from Houston who can play all guard positions, and Brendan Wenzel, a 6-foot-6 sharpshooter from San Antonio, Texas, will join the Miners for the 2019-20 season, while adding more size at the guard position.
“Both players help us fill needs we wanted to address in our 2019 class,” Terry said. “Both players bring great size at the guard and wing positions for us at 6-6 [Wenzel] and 6-3 [Zarzuela]. We have had great success with big guards traditionally and like the versatility that it brings to our program on both sides of the ball. Both Brendan and Jesse also bring a great feel for the game, along with three-point shooting ability, which is an integral part of today’s game. Both young men have a desire to be coached, a blue-collar approach to the game, along with a passion to improve and get better, which we look for. As a coach, I love working with young men who love the game, these two love the game, no doubt. Both players have had nothing handed to them, they’ve rolled up their sleeves and earned everything they have gotten to this point.”
Zarzuela will play at the point guard position for the Miners. He earned District Co-MVP honors after averaging over 17 points per game, four rebounds per contest, three assists per game and two steals per contest as a junior at Spring Woods High School in Houston, coached by Joe Gibson. Zarzuela played for AAU basketball team Stackz Elite, coached by Curtis Scipio. Zarzuela opened his senior campaign with a 29-point, eight-assist performance against Sam Houston High School.
“Jesse Zarzuela has the ability, work ethic, toughness and competitive make up that give him a chance to be a very good player at the college level,” Terry said. “Like many young players who make the transition to college, there is a learning curve adjusting to the collegiate game.
But Zarzuela possess a lot of those characteristics needed to be very successful in today’s college game. We loved what we saw in Jesse because of his ability to play with the ball in his hands as a playmaker in addition to his ability to play off the ball as a scorer and shot maker. Jesse has an ability to score at all three levels. He can shoot it from 3 with range, is a very good passer, has good size as a bigger guard at 6-3, and has a natural feel for the game. We are thrilled to add a player of Jesse’s ability to our program.”
Wenzel will add size at the guard position. He connected on over 40 percent of his three-pointers during his junior season at O’Connor High School in San Antonio, Texas, coached by Brett Jewasko. Wenzel was named All-District first team after his explosive second season on the varsity squad.
Wenzel played for AAU basketball team HD Toros, coached by Louis Martinez. Wenzel poured in 37 points after firing on 12 three-point shots with the Toros during a summer league game.
“Brendan is a special talent because he has great size for his position at 6-6 playing the wing,” Terry said. “He has the size and athleticism to defend and rebound at his position, a high IQ for the game, and he possess an elite ability to shoot the basketball. Brendan is a proven worker and his work ethic has helped him go from being a virtually unknown unranked player, to being recognized as a Top 15-20 player in the state of Texas. He is arguably the best shooter in the 2019 class in Texas. We are ecstatic to have Brendan as a part of our program.”
“We’re really excited to add both these young men to our program today. Not only are they both very talented, but more important than that, they are high-character young men who come from outstanding families and have a proven track record of winning both on and off the court,” Terry said.
“Both of them have been terrific students in the classroom during their high school careers and they both come from winning programs as well. Both Brendan and Jesse were guys we identified as top priorities in recruiting this summer, and today we are thrilled to have them officially joining our basketball family here at UTEP.”
JUNIOR (2017-18): Named Co-MVP in District 15-6A … honored as TABC All-Region Class 6A Region 1 … ranked fifth in Houston by RCSSports.com … averaged 17.6 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game and 1.7 steals (50) per game … shot 44 percent (158-357) and scored in double-digit figures in 26 of 29 games … won tournament MVP at the Byron Johnston Holiday Classic in Midland after scoring a season-high 27 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 5-for-9 from beyond the arc, and tallied a trio of steals during a 66-59 win over Odessa … followed that performance with a double-double, scoring 25 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, adding two steals and a block in a victory against Midland … registered 26 points during a two-point (69-67) triumph against San Angelo Central … recorded season-high seven assists versus West Brook … dished out six dimes with 19 points and seven rebounds in a win against Fort Bend Hightower … opened junior season with an 18-point effort with five rebounds, six assists and three steals … scored 20 points with four rebounds, four assists and four steals during a 67-60 win against Pearland … scored 22 point with four rebounds in a 60-57 victory against Cypress Ranch.
2017-18 (JUNIOR): Sharp shooter who made big strides from his sophomore season to junior, averaging 20.1 points per game in 29 games overall (23.3 ppg in district play) … ranked 18th in the state according to TexasHoops.com … named All-District 28-6A first team … averaged 5.0 rebounds per game with two assists and two steals per game … shot 51 percent (201-395) from the field, including 70-for-173 (40.5 percent) from three-point range … connected on 85 percent from the charity stripe (111-131) … recorded double-digit figures in scoring in 25 games, including six 30-point performances … went for a season-high 33 points on 11-of-16 shooting, including a 6-for-9 performance from beyond the arc against Holmes … prior to the 33-point outburst, scored 32 points and ripped down season-high 12 rebounds against Warren … scored 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting (4-8 three-point) with seven rebounds and three assist in a 67-56 win against Jay … followed that performance with a 30-point effort against Stevens … produced another 31 points against rival Brandeis … scored 30 points versus Brennan.