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Home | Tag Archives: utep men’s basketball

Tag Archives: utep men’s basketball

Miners Seeking Defensive Improvement Against Three-Point Happy NAU

The UTEP men’s basketball team has had its struggles defensively this season, particularly from three-point range where opponents are shooting 42.1 percent.

On Saturday the Miners will be challenged by a Northern Arizona team that has taken the 16th-most attempts from beyond the arc (294) in the country.

And while Northern Arizona is 2-9, averaging 67.2 points and shooting 35.4 percent from the floor (29.3 percent from outside), UTEP coach Tim Floyd said the Lumberjacks present problems.

“They’ve got a really good shooting team and they put five guys on the floor that can make shots,” he said.  “We have given up 42 percent from the three-point line, which is unacceptable.  That’s going to be a real area of concern for us going into the game, to try to guard the three-point line.  I’ve always said that if you can’t guard the three-point line, you can’t guard.”

Northern Arizona averages 7.8 made threes and 26.7 attempts per game under fifth-year head coach Jack Murphy, a former assistant to Josh Pastner at Memphis.  Over 43 percent of the Lumberjacks’ shots have come from long range.

NAU has five players averaging over eight points per game, led by sophomore guard Mike Green at 11.3 ppg.  The Lumberjacks’ shots haven’t fallen with frequency this season as they rate 344th nationally (out of 347 teams) in field goal percentage.

The Miners, meanwhile, are trying to snap out of a five-game losing spin.

“Northern Arizona has had their struggles and we have certainly had ours,” Floyd said.  “We need a great effort from every guy on the floor.  We’ve worked very hard the last couple of days trying to make some changes that we think might fit our team. We’re looking forward to trying to come out here and get a win.”

All tickets for this game are $8 and $10.  They are available by calling 747-5234.

This is the “Hoops for the Holidays” game.  Kids can take pictures with Santa and friends in the North concourse of the arena. The halftime show will be holiday-themed and features the UTEP spirit squads.

Sitting at 2-6, the Miners are simply trying to get better game-by-game, week by week.  Conference USA play is nearly two weeks away, and any improvement will have to start at the defensive end of the floor.

“Defense is the one thing that we feel that we can control,” Floyd said.  “We’re giving up just way too high of a percentage.  If we can get that number down, and our offense will contribute to that, then maybe we can make some strides.”

UTEP is 18-9 all-time versus Northern Arizona.  Remarkably, despite the two schools being separated by just 380 miles, this is the first meeting between the Miners and the Lumberjacks since the 1961-62 season, which was Don Haskins’ first on the UTEP bench.

“They’ll do what a lot of teams do.  They’ll see this beautiful arena and look at all the banners and look at all the retired jerseys, and we often times get teams’ best efforts,” Floyd said.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Braswell Promoted to Assistant Basketball Coach at UTEP; Two Staffers go to Northern Colorado

UTEP Coach Tim Floyd announced on Thursday that Bobby Braswell has been promoted to assistant coach with the Miners.  Braswell has served as the Miners’ Director of Basketball Operations for the last three years.

Braswell succeeds Ken Deweese, who served in the assistant coach role for the previous five years before accepting a position at the University of Northern Colorado (UNCo).

Deweese and Vincent McGhee, Jr, UTEP’s men’s basketball graduate assistant, were announced as new hires at the UNCo Thursday afternoon.

“Coach Braswell is one of the men in this business who I have the utmost respect for,” Floyd said.  “Our players love him.  He understands the importance of an assistant coach not only recruiting, which he has done very successfully, but also coaching and mentoring players.

“As the head coach at Cal State Northridge – one of the more challenging jobs in the country – he led two teams to the NCAA Tournament and four others into the conference tournament finals.  He had previous stops at Long Beach State and Oregon as an assistant.  Prior to his collegiate coaching career, he was the head coach at Cleveland High School in the Los Angeles area, where he coached numerous players on to the Division I level.”

Braswell compiled 251 victories at Cal State Northridge with NCAA Tournament trips in 2001 and 2009.  The Matadors were the Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament champion in 2001, the Big West Conference regular season champ in 2008, and the Big West Conference regular season and tournament champion in 2009.

He was chosen the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in 2001, and the Big West Conference Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009.

He engineered a trio of 20-win campaigns at Northridge.  His squad posted a historic victory during the 2000-01 campaign, upsetting no. 15 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion 78-74.  It was the team’s first victory over a nationally ranked squad.  He coached a total of 12 players who earned first team All-Conference honors, including the school’s no. 1 scorer and no. 2 rebounder Brian Heinle.

As an assistant coach, Braswell was a part of an NCAA Tournament team at Oregon (1994-95) and two NIT squads at Long Beach State.  He recruited the players that formed the 49ers’ 1993 NCAA Tournament qualifier.

Braswell’s Cleveland High School teams won two Valley League titles and he was twice chosen Coach of the Year.  Among the players he coached at Cleveland High School were Lucious Harris (Long Beach State), Eddie Hill (Washington State), Adonis Jordan (Kansas) and Trevor Wilson (UCLA).  Harris and Wilson played in the NBA.  Harris was with Dallas, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Cleveland and Wilson was with Atlanta, the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento and Philadelphia.

Braswell and his wife, Penny, have three children, two of which attend UTEP.

Miners Out-Muscle Marshall at The Don 112-108

Dominic Artis scored 25 of his career-high 33 points in the second half as UTEP outraced Marshall, 112-108, with members of the 1966 national championship team in attendance for the 50th anniversary festivities on Thursday.

The Miners (12-11, 4-6 C-USA) battled back from 14 down over the final 18 minutes in one of the most exciting games ever played in the Don Haskins Center.  It marked the first time that UTEP was involved in a regulation game where two teams scored 100 points since Jan. 9, 1961, when it lost at Arizona State 119-103.  That was the year before the legendary Don Haskins took the helm of the program.

“Surely coach Haskins wasn’t watching that defense [tonight],” coach Tim Floyd said with a smile afterwards.  “Good gosh.  Fifty-year anniversary and we set it back 50 years defensively.  But I’m proud of our guys.  They played with a lot of heart, a lot of fight.”

The 112 points were the third-most scored in school history and the most since Dec. 30, 2000, when UTEP routed New Mexico Highlands 121-86 in “the Don.”  The 65 second-half points were the second-most in the record book behind the 78 versus Highlands.

Artis became the first Miner player to score 30 points in a game since Randy Culpepper tallied 33 versus Houston on Feb. 19, 2011.  But he had more than enough support from Earvin Morris (20 points), Lee Moore (17), Omega Harris (15) and Terry Winn, who scored all 13 of his points in the second half.

“We had several guys that really played well offensively,” Floyd said.  “We start with Dominic, and Lee Moore really got the ball to the rim in the second half.  Earvin Morris, who had really struggled, had six assists and one turnover and 20 points.  They moved the ball and as a result we scored.  Terry gave us a lift in the second half.”

The Miners shot 61.8 percent in the second half, outscoring the Herd 65-53 to wipe out a 55-47 deficit.  UTEP started to make its move with 12:11 remaining, trailing 80-71.  Artis made a three-pointer to begin a 10-0 run that put the Miners ahead (81-80) for the first time since late in the first half.  Artis scored seven of the 10 points during the run.

After UTEP extended its lead to seven (92-85), the Herd came storming back.  A 10-2 spurt ended with a three-point play by Ryan Taylor.  Marshall was back in front 95-94 with 5:40 to go.

The Herd still led by one (108-107) with 1:08 to play after Jon Elmore hit a couple of free throws.  Moore broke the tie – and gave UTEP the lead for good – on two foul shots of his own with 51 seconds left.  The Miners scored their last six points at the line over the final 1:26 with reserve Tevin Caldwell taking an active role, securing two crucial offensive boards off missed free throws to extend possessions.

The second half alone featured nine ties and 15 lead changes.

James Kelly led the Herd (11-12, 7-3 C-USA) with 26 points.  Elmore and Taylor contributed 21 and 20 respectively.

“We never could get our arms around them defensively,” Floyd said.  “They’re hard to guard. There’s a reason why they were scoring 95 a game through the first six games of league play.  It’s a good team.  Really good team.  They’ll be hard to beat on a neutral floor in the conference tournament for anybody when you can score like that.”

The game was fairly even statistically. UTEP shot 56.1 percent, Marshall 53.5 percent.  Rebounds were 36-35 in favor of the Herd.  Both teams made 11 three-pointers.

“We got to the foul line more than they did, and that helped,” Floyd said.  “We had two fewer turnovers.  I guess that helps.  We hung around on the boards, which as you know has been a real issue for us.  Dominic Artis is becoming the guy that we thought we were getting here the last two games.  He has played very aggressively and that has helped us.  I would say those things were all very important.”

Artis followed up a near triple-double at LA Tech with the 33 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

“He’s just more aggressive toward the rim,” Floyd said.  “He’s not settling for all jump shots, although he did get it going from the perimeter there.  He made three or four jump shots in a row.  He got his head up.  I thought the minutes that Lee Moore had driving Kelly were really important and helped us there in the second half.  We were able to get baskets.”

Floyd was appreciative of the crowd of 6,993.

“I thought they were just awesome, absolutely awesome,” he said.  “Hopefully they’ll come out here as inspired [Saturday].  That’s why it’s such a great basketball job.  The fans love it here.  They really like their ball.”

The Miners will salute the ’66 champs at the WKU game on Saturday at 3 p.m.  Tickets are still available by calling 747-5234 or visiting ticketmaster.com

Story in Six Pics: Panthers best Miners 79-69

The Florida International University Panthers visited The Don Saturday night and despite a furious rally by the Miners, managed a 10-point win 79-69. Andres Acosta brings you his view of the game with this Story in Six Pics.

FIU at UTEP -23 (1)FIU at UTEP -26FIU at UTEP -134

FIU at UTEP -21 FIU at UTEP -17 FIU at UTEP -14 FIU at UTEP -2 FIU at UTEP -1

UTEP dominates at The Don, defeating FAU 71-56

Omega Harris scored 11 of his 19 points in the first six and a half minutes, and UTEP opened the game with a 15-0 run en route to a 71-56 clobbering of Florida Atlantic on Thursday night at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners (11-8, 3-3 C-USA) got back to the .500 mark in Conference USA play, ended a three-game losing skid and notched their 11th consecutive league victory at home dating back to last season.

“We were better tonight and I’m really encouraged by a lot of things that happened,” coach Tim Floyd said.  “We really shared the ball.  I thought Lee [Moore] and Dominic [Artis] played very good floor games.  Omega played with a lot of energy and played well offensively.  So our guard play was improved.”

Harris made 5-of-8 shots, 3-of-4 three pointers and all six of his free throws in an efficient offensive performance.  Hooper Vint matched him with 19 points, scoring 12 in the second half.  He was 7-for-12 from the floor and 5-for-5 from the charity stripe.  The Miners shot 50 percent as a team and 77.3 percent (17-for-22) from the line.

They were equally adept on the defensive end of the floor, holding the Owls (4-15, 2-4 C-USA) to 37.5 percent shooting while outrebounding a C-USA opponent for the first time this season (34-32).

“We got back defensively,” Floyd said.  “We didn’t give up a lot of points in transition.  I thought the fact that we’re throwing the ball inside more is helping settle us down a little bit.  I thought it helped our shooting percentage.  A guy that’s shooting 54 percent from the field for us, Hooper Vint, took the most attempts.  And that’s the way it should be.  We’re getting more touches in areas where we should get touches.”

The Miners pushed out to a 20-point lead at halftime (40-20).  When the Owls pulled within nine (46-37) five and a half minutes into the second half, UTEP didn’t flinch, putting the game out of reach with a 21-2 run.

Jeantal Cylla led the Owls with 19 of his 25 points coming in the second half.

Floyd noted that the Miners’ decision making was much better than in the second half of a 71-67 loss at UTSA last Saturday.

“I thought in situations tonight where we were three-on-five and two-on-five we decided not to go dribble between eight guys and go crank one up,” he said.  “We decided to kick it out, throw it to the post and go play off of it and as a result we won the rebounding game.  We didn’t shoot shots when guys weren’t in position to offensive rebound.  We knew that we now had floor space in order to be able to get back defensively and settle down and do a job there.”

The Miners pounced on the Owls from the get go.

“They had a lot of freshmen in there early in a road game and I thought we took advantage of that,” Floyd said.  “We forced some turnovers and made some good plays in the open floor.”

And when the lead became precarious in the second half, the Miners found a way to close it out.

“At least we fought through it and continued to play,” Floyd said.  “It always helps being at home in front of your crowd.”

UTEP, which had two separate winning streaks of six and four games earlier this season, will look to start another one on Saturday when FIU comes to town at 7:05 p.m.

“Our team needed that game tonight,” Floyd said.  “I thought we played really well out of the box like we were bothered by [the game] last Saturday, which I like.”       ​

UTSA Roadrunners rally, run past UTEP 71-67

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – Christian Wilson scored a career-high 25 points, including 12 over the final 15 minutes as UTSA overcame a 15-point deficit and beat UTEP, 71-67, on Saturday at the Convocation Center.

UTEP (10-8, 2-3 C-USA) led 52-37 when Lee Moore hit a free throw with 14:48 remaining.  After that, the Roadrunners (4-14, 2-3 C-USA) outscored the Miners 34-15 and limited them to four field goals.

“Obviously this is a disappointing loss,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We had a lead and gave it back with offensive inefficiency in the second half.  We scored 24 points in the second half, which isn’t enough to win on the road.”

Wilson did most of his damage at the free throw line, where he was 11-of-14.  The Roadrunners finished 18-of-26 at the stripe (.692) while the Miners had their difficulties at 52.6 percent, 10-of-19.

Wilson scored eight consecutive points for UTSA after UTEP opened the big lead.  He also scored the layup with 1:23 remaining that broke a 66-66 tie and put the Roadrunners ahead for good at 68-66.

Hooper Vint and Terry Winn led UTEP with 12 points each.  Lee Moore and Earvin Morris both scored 11.  Vint had his third double-double of the season with 10 rebounds, but the Miners were beat on the boards 43-34 including 25-15 in the second half.

UTSA scored 11 second-chance points off 12 offensive rebounds, although most of that scoring came in the first half.

The Miners ended the first half with an 11-3 run and went into the locker room up 43-33 after Trey Touchet buried back-to-back three-point shots, including one right before the buzzer.

UTEP made four of six shots to start the second half in establishing the 15-point lead but went cold thereafter, connecting on just four of its final 18 attempts (22.2 percent).

The Miners were outscored 38-24 over the final 20 minutes and just couldn’t get anything going offensively.

“A lot of different factors for that,” Floyd said.  “We missed probably more layups than I’ve ever had a team miss in a game. We were very poor from the free throw line.  With the game tied at 66 we missed back-to-back free throws.  We missed a layup following that on the next possession.

“We also don’t offensive rebound it very well.  We had two offensive boards for the game.  And then we put the other team at the line too much.  It’s back-to-back games where we give up too many free throws on the road.  It seemed like when we didn’t stop it, they either offensive boarded or they got themselves back to the line and made free throws.”

The Miners finished at 44.6 percent from the field for the game to UTSA’s 38.1 percent.  After making 7-of-12 three-pointers in the first half, the Miners were 0-for-7 from outside over the last 20 minutes.

Lucas O’Brien (12 points/eight rebounds) and J.R. Harris (10 points) also scored in double figures for UTSA.  Wilson led the Roadrunners in points, rebounds (nine), assists (five) and steals (two).

“A lot of opportunities to win it,” Floyd said.  “We played like a team that had not won on the road.  We didn’t play with much confidence down the stretch.  We got some good minutes today out of Trey Touchet.  We got some good minutes out of Tevin Caldwell.  We’re real banged up inside with Terry and Hooper, but I thought they both played decent.  We’ve just got to get better play and we didn’t get it accomplished.”

UTEP will be home for four of its next six games starting on Thursday (Jan. 21) when it hosts Florida Atlantic at 7:05 p.m.  The Miners will also host FIU next Saturday (Jan. 23) at 7:05.

Author: UTEP Atheltics

UTEP’s rally falls short, UAB beats Miners 87-80

BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – Earvin Morris led a furious second-half rally with a season-high 23 points, but UTEP came up just short at defending C-USA champion UAB, 87-80, on Saturday afternoon at Bartow Arena.

Morris, who had been held to single-digit points in the previous three games, busted out to make 8-of-14 shots while matching his personal best with five three pointers.  He scored 18 points in the second half when UTEP cut a 19-point deficit down to five in the last two minutes.

The Miners (10-7, 2-2 C-USA) weren’t able to pick up a win on their first league road trip of the season, but they gave the Blazers and Middle Tennessee, two of the top teams in the conference, all they could handle.

“In a lot of ways, I was really proud of our guys tonight,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We played with a man down in Terry Winn.  Some positive things happened in terms of us getting Earvin Morris’ head back up, Jake Flaggert’s head back up.  I thought we got solid minutes from Brodricks Jones late in the ballgame for the first time, which is a real positive.”

Winn was limited to 10 minutes, all in the first half, after rolling his ankle in the first half at Middle Tennessee on Thursday.  He finished with three points and no rebounds.

Minus Winn, the Miners’ rebounding effort wasn’t a disaster as they were out-boarded 48-40, although UAB (13-3, 3-0 C-USA) converted 16 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points.

UTEP held the Blazers to 38.2 percent shooting (29.4 percent shooting) after they made at least 50 percent of their shots in seven of the previous eight games.  The Miners had been 7-0 this season when holding teams under 40 percent prior to the game.

UTEP shot 46.8 percent.  The Miners scored 49 points in the second half, when they made 53.1 percent of their attempts.

“Some good things happened,” Floyd said.  “I thought we made some adjustments on the fly that our team had not been able to make early in the year in terms of what we’re doing offensively out of timeouts, how we’re going to go play defensively with the screen and rolls and having to switch and do things that we’re not accustomed to doing and I think we tried like heck to do it.”

The first 15 minutes were hotly contested with neither team leading by more than four points.  The Blazers gained some separation by scoring the last six points of the half to go into the locker room up 40-31.  In the last 3:30 of the period, the Blazers outscored the Miners 8-2 and outrebounded them 7-2.

UAB opened the second half with a 15-5 run to take its largest lead of the game, 55-36 with 14:37 remaining.  From the 2:03mark of the first half to the 14:37 mark of the second half, the Blazers outscored the Miners 21-5 with William Lee (seven points) and Chris Cokley (five) combining for 12 points in the run.

The Miners were down 67-54 with nine and a half minutes left but were not out.  Morris made back-to-back three pointers to cut it to seven (67-60) with 8:20 to go.  UTEP pulled within five (77-72) on a driving layup by Omega Harris with 1:57remaining.  Lee rebounded his own miss on the other end and scored to put UAB back up seven.

After Jones made two foul shots to again draw UTEP within five (79-74), Cokley scored a layup and, following a turnover by Dominic Artis, Nick Norton made two free throws to put it away.

“The bugaboo again was the defensive board with 16 offensive rebounds and the number of points they got off of putbacks,” Floyd said.  “But we’ll continue to grow as a basketball team.  I don’t know how many teams are going to come in here and win in our league this year.  They’re a fine basketball team.  They’ve got, it looks like to me, power five conference talent and depth.  They have great guard play and great bigs and great depth.  They utilized all of those against us and did a great job.”

Lee led UAB with 18 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.  Cokley also had a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards, with Norton (13 points) and Dirk Williams (11) joining him in double figures.  Norton chipped in with seven assists and three steals.

Hooper Vint had 14 points, seven rebounds and a career-high six blocks for the Miners.  Artis added 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.  Flaggert and Harris contributed 10 points apiece, with Flaggert scoring in double figures for the first time as a Miner.

The Miners will play only one game next week at travel partner UTSA on Saturday (Jan. 16).  Tip-off is 2 p.m. MT and the game will be televised on the American Sports Network.

“We were just a little short in both trips,” Floyd said.  “It can be a positive experience going into the conference tournament that we’ve already been here, we played, and we played our hearts out.  We’ll see if we can’t go back to San Antonio and pick up our first road win, which we desperately need.  We need to get that feeling [of winning on the road] with this new basketball team.”

Middle Tennessee topples UTEP 78-72

Darnell Harris scored 21 points, including a crucial layup with 1:24 remaining, as Middle Tennessee made plays down the stretch and slipped past UTEP, 78-72, on Thursday night in Murfreesboro.

Harris’ bucket put the Blue Raiders (9-5, 1-1 C-USA) up 74-70 after Earvin Morris missed a three-pointer that could’ve given the Miners (10-6, 2-1 C-USA) the lead.  UTEP again pulled within two (74-72) on two free throws by Lee Moore with 26 seconds remaining, but Giddy Potts found Reggie Upshaw for a layup to break the Miner press.

After Omega Harris missed a three-pointer, the Blue Raiders’ Perrin Buford closed it out with free throws.

“We had our opportunities to win on the road,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “The guys did some good things.  Eight turnovers is a great number.  We gave up 22 second-chance points, 17 offensive rebounds, big play after big play after a stop defensively.  We were pleased with the defensive effort, but part of the defensive effort is securing the ball off the defensive glass.  Terry Winn went back and got his share.  We didn’t have enough other guys helping him in that situation.”

Moore scored 20 points, and Winn posted his second double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.  Hooper Vint added 12 points.

Buford had 15 points and eight rebounds for Middle Tennessee, and Upshaw recorded 12 points and 12 boards.

The Blue Raiders made their first four three-point attempts, and six of their first nine, to bolt to a 26-14 lead midway through the first half.  Trailing by 10 (30-20), the Miners closed the half with a 14-7 run to get within three (37-34).  Moore connected on a three-pointer with three seconds left to make it a one possession game.

UTEP led twice in the second half, at 40-39 (17:23 mark) and 47-45 (15:02 mark).  Middle Tennessee scored the next six points.

The Blue Raiders went ahead by nine points (70-61) with 7:45 remaining after completing an 8-2 run.  They were up by eight (72-64) with under five minutes to go before UTEP mounted one last rally.

Moore scored the next six points to make it a two-point game before Harris and Upshaw came through in the clutch.

The Miners turned in a much more competitive effort on the boards.  They were outrebounded 44-39 (25-20 in the second half) and yielded 12 second-chance points, six in each half.

Middle Tennessee made four more three-pointers (nine to five), but UTEP finished 21-for-26 at the line to the home team’s 11-for-19.

“They’re a good basketball team,” Floyd said.  “We couldn’t get our arms around them early with our man-to-man.  They made us pay shooting the three.  Buford, Harris, guys who we knew could shoot it did and knocked it down and we didn’t close out.  They had 26 in the first 10 minutes and they had [52] in the next 30 minutes, and 22 of the [52] were putback baskets.  We’ve got to continue to try to grow in that area and try to look at different guys to put in those situations.”

In the end, it was something for a young team to build upon against a formidable opponent playing on its home floor.

“We had our opportunities,” Floyd said.  “Down two [72-70] we missed a wide-open three that would’ve put us up one.  Give them credit, they did a really nice job in everything that they did against us.  We just didn’t make enough plays down at the end.”

The Miners will play at defending league champion UAB on Saturday at noon MT.  The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.​

Author: UTEP Athletics

UTEP downs North Texas 84-75, sweep 1st two CUSA foes at home

Hooper Vint scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half and added 12 rebounds for his second career double-double as UTEP edged North Texas, 84-75, on Sunday afternoon at the Haskins Center.

The Miners (10-5, 2-0 C-USA) did what they had to do on the first weekend of Conference USA action – defend their home court.  UTEP is 2-0 in C-USA for the sixth time and has won its last 10 home games versus league opponents.

“We’re pleased to have gotten a win,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “Our guys got tested a couple of times at home.  We were in close gamesUNT vs UTEP-12 where we had to think and play, try to play with poise.”

After slipping past Rice by a point (61-60) on Friday, the Miners were once again involved in a game that went down to the wire.  In fact
, they trailed the Mean Green 71-70 with 4:05 remaining.  That was North Texas’ only lead of the game, and the Miners outscored the visitors 14-4 down the stretch to restore order.

“We held North Texas without a field goal the last four minutes and five seconds of the game and defensive boarded those misses that came off.  We put ourselves in position to get the right guys fouled and those guys made free throws for the most part,” Floyd said.

North Texas (6-9, 1-1 C-USA) finished just 16-for-32 at the stripe, undermining an efficient second half where it scored 44 points and shot 51.6 percent from the field.

The Miners led by 10 (41-31) at halftime.  North Texas made nine of its first 12 shots to start the second half and scored 22 points in a little over six minutes to get back in it.

After Deckie Johnson shot the Mean Green into the lead with a three-pointer, Lee Moore scored to put UTEP ahead for good.  Over the last 3:19 the Miners were 8-for-13 at the line and North Texas was 4-for-9.  Vint scored eight points during that stretch.

UNT vs UTEP-24Moore scored 15 points, Omega Harris 13 and Dominic Artis 11 for UTEP.  The Miners were beaten on the boards again (50-43), but they did close the gap in the final minutes behind Vint, Moore (eight rebounds) and Terry Winn (eight).

“We gave up too many second chance points again, although we did have a couple of nice rebounding efforts from Terry Winn and Hooper Vint,” Floyd said.  “I’m encouraged by that.”

The Miners limited North Texas’ Johnson and Ja’Michael Brown to eight and five points respectively.  Johnson was averaging a team-leading 14.6 ppg coming in and Brown scored 21 off the bench at UTSA on Friday.

The Mean Green’s J-Mychael Reese scored 17 points, but he shot 5-for-21 from the floor.  Jeremy Combs collected 20 points andUNT vs UTEP-19 19 rebounds to lead UNT.

“We knew he was the best rebounder in the league and he certainly played that way,” Floyd said.

The Miners shot 50 percent in the second half, 45.3 percent for the game.

“Overall I think we’ve just got to be pleased to get the win,” Floyd said.  “We got our offense going a little bit.  I thought we started moving it the last seven minutes.  I couldn’t believe how inefficient we were the first 12 minutes of the ball game.  We were at the rim over and over and over again.  Just little bunnies and we couldn’t make them.  We overhandled it a couple of times, 3-on-1 situations and turned it over.  It was frustrating and I felt like it was going to come back to get us.

“We knew that North Texas could come back because that’s what they did last week at UTSA [trailing 40-25 at halftime].  They are an explosive group and we wouldn’t want to see them in the conference tournament.”

Vint redeemed himself after having a rough night Friday.

“He struggled the first four minutes of the second half too [today],” Floyd said.  “He wasn’t as aggressive as he needs to be and I thought he got that way.  He caught it, he made better decisions on his kicks out of the post.”

UNT vs UTEP-22The Miners will hit the road to play two of C-USA’s top teams, Middle Tennessee and defending champ UAB, this week.  They’ll continue to seek out the winning rebounding formula.

“We focus on it every single day,” Floyd said.  “Coach Haskins had a saying about rebounding.  He said, ‘Recruit rebounders.’   Guys that have instincts, go chase it like a dog on a meat truck, they see the ball going on the board, they just go chase it down and go get it.  We’ve got to do a better job of that I would say, because we’re not chasing it.  We’re watching it.  We’re hoping the other guy gets it so I can run out and go to the offensive end.  We keep talking about it, keep blocking it out, keep working [on] having to rebound in practice.  That’s all you can do.”

The Middle Tennessee game will be televised on the American Sports Network Thursday at 5 p.m. MT.  CBS Sports Network has the UAB game on Saturday at noon MT.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Dominic Artis’ game-winning layup lifts UTEP over Rice 61-60

Dominic Artis scored the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left, giving UTEP a 61-60 win over Rice in the Conference USA opener for both teams on Friday at the Don Haskins Center.

Artis’ bucket came 11 seconds after Marcus Evans gave the Owls (5-9, 0-1 C-USA) their only lead of the game, 60-59, on a jumper.  Evans, the national freshman scoring leader, posted 11 of his 13 points in the second half.

UTEP (9-5, 1-0 C-USA) won its C-USA opener for the ninth time in 11 years.

“We feel very fortunate with the win,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “They got the ball with the opportunity to beat us.  I thought they did a great job.  They really executed and played with great offensive and defensive discipline.  They pounded us on the glass.”

The Miners rode a 9-2 run to a 33-23 lead late in the first half.  UTEP was up 37-29 at the break after shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 45.5 percent (5-for-11) from three-point range.

UTEP scored the first five points of the second half and took its largest lead of 13 (42-29) on a layup by Terry Winn with 18:50remaining.  The Miners were up 47-35 a couple of minutes later, but things started to unravel when Hooper Vint picked up his third foul, followed by a technical, with 16:05 left.

“We had a technical that I thought affected the ball game,” Floyd said.  “I was really disappointed in the self-discipline of our guy who is a fifth year senior, getting a technical and he deserved it … we had to sit him for 12 minutes.  I thought he came back in and wasn’t right.  He turned it over.  He’s a better player than that, a much better player than that and should be setting the tone for our other guys in terms of how we’re going to go approach things both at home and on the road.”

The Miners scored two points in the next seven and a half minutes, allowing Rice to creep within five (49-44).  The Miners totaled 24 points in the second half, making 8-of-24 shots (33.3 percent) and 1-of-6 three pointers.

Lee Moore broke the dry spell with two free throws at the 8:25 mark.  But Rice hung around, drawing within two (59-57) on a three-pointer by Egor Koulechov with  2:44 to go.

Evans scored the next three points to put the Owls into the lead before Artis won it late.  Evans missed a jumper in the final seconds, Winn blocked Andrew Drone’s putback attempt and the Miners held on.

“The encouraging thing in the game was I thought Evans was limited and that was our deal,” Floyd said.  “We wanted to do a job on Evans, who is one of the premier freshmen in the United States.  I thought Dominic did a good job in that area and I thought the job that Lee Moore did on him in the first half was great.”

Evans (13 points, 4-for-11 FGs) and Koulechov (11 points, 3-for-12 FGs) were held to 24 points, nearly 15 below their combined season average.  Max Guercy and Bishop Mency both scored 11 points for Rice, and Drone had nine boards as the Owls won the rebounding battle 42-31.

“Mency made a couple of plays,” Floyd said.  “I thought Drone got his head up when Hooper was out of the game.  They were smart, they went to him, they kept pounding us inside and consequently they pounded us on the glass. “

Moore led four Miners in double figures with 15 points.  Artis and Winn scored 14 apiece and Omega Harris had 12.  Winn added eight rebounds and two blocks.

Rice at Utep-17
Dominic Artis

It wasn’t always pretty, but a needed home victory with North Texas coming to town on Sunday at 3 p.m.  The Mean Green rallied in the second half to win at UTSA, 70-66, on Friday.

“I feel like we’re 0-1 but we’re 1-0,” Floyd said.  “I recommended that young coach for a job a year ago because I want him out of our league.  I think he’s pretty good.  We fought the fight here today and if we weren’t at home, I don’t know that we could’ve gotten the win.”

Artis finished 5-for-11 from the field, including the game winner.

“It was a big basket, a really big basket,” Floyd said.  “We didn’t want to call a timeout.  We wanted to try to play out of flow because it seems to be where we’re at our best.  We didn’t want to give them an opportunity to change defenses.  They’re a multi defensive team.  They’ve got a trap package, they’ve got a zone package.  I didn’t want us to get on our heels with a timeout.  Those are things that we talk about.  We get in those situations late where we’re going to try to go get something at the rim, particularly given that there were 10 fouls on the opponent.”

Tickets for Sunday’s game, starting at $8, are available by calling 747-5234.

Author: UTEP Athletics

Story in Six Pics: UTEP sinks Rice 61-60

Dominic Artis’ last-second shot secured the win, as the Miners beat Rice 61-60 in the C-USA league play opener at The Don Friday Night. Check out Andres Acosta’s view of the game with ‘A Story in Six Pics.’

Rice at Utep-1 Rice at Utep-10 (1) Rice at Utep-48 Rice at Utep-15 (1) Rice at Utep-17Rice at Utep-73 Rice at Utep-79 Rice at Utep-6 (1)

UTEP Miners
UTEP Miners

 

Miners sink UT Rio Grande Valley 85-64

Dominic Artis scored a career-high 21 points on seven three-pointers, as UTEP closed out its non-conference schedule with an 85-64 waxing of UT Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday at the Don Haskins Center.

Artis added eight rebounds and eight assists as the Miners won for the second straight game to take an 8-5 mark into Conference USA play, which begins this weekend at the Haskins Center.

Artis became the seventh Miner to hit seven three-pointers in a game, joining Miguel Ayala, Randy Culpepper, Omar Duran, Antoine Gillespie, Mark Ingles and Jarvis Mullahon.  The seven threes were two shy of the school game record.

Hooper Vint collected his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Terry Winn contributed 17 points and seven boards in just 14 minutes of work.  Lee Moore posted solid all-around numbers with nine points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

Artis and Moore combined for 17 assists and only one turnover.

DSC_2945“I thought our guard play was very good tonight,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “It always looks better when the ball is going in the basket.  You look at Lee Moore and Dominic Artis’ assist-to-turnover ratio.  The ball is just moving so well right now and as a result, this team that I told people could shoot it and you all thought I was crazy early, looks like we can shoot it because we are getting really open looks.”

The Miners shot 46.5 percent from the field and 44.4 percent (8-for-18) from three-point range.  They assisted on 26 of their 33 field goals.

Artis continues to close in on posting what would be only the second triple-double in school history.

“He’s a good player,” Floyd said.  “We tend to forget that he and Lee both sat out a year ago and did not play.  It has taken him a little while and I think he’s playing with more confidence.  I think they are both in better condition.  I think that is helping them as well.  I was pleased with Dominic defensively tonight and doing what we ask him to do.  We have had our battles with all of these new guys on the perimeter.  But I do sense that he took a step forward tonight.”

The Miners had runs of 9-0, 8-0 and 6-0 in the first half on their way to a 43-35 advantage at the break.  UTEP trailed just three times in the first 20 minutes at 3-2, 6-3 and 27-25.  After the Vaqueros’ Dakota Slaughter drained a three pointer to put his team up by two, Artis made back-to-back three-pointers to spur an 18-8 surge to end the period.

The Miners pushed the lead out to 17 points (66-49) midway through the second half.  The Vaqueros (3-11) scored eight straight to cut it to nine before UTEP ended the game with a flurry.  The Miners scored 17 points in the final four minutes.

Shaquille Hines scored 15 points for UTRGV, which made 6-of-14 three pointers in the first half but just 1-of-11 in the final 20 minutes.

“The group we played against really shot it well tonight,” Floyd said.  “I think their percentage dropped dramatically in the second half fromFullSizeRender (5) the three-point line, but they just wore it out in the first half.  Our guys did a nice job of extending to their shooters in the second half, extending our pressure a little bit, and that helped us.”

The Miners received their third double-double of the season from Vint, who was playing with a heavy heart.

“I thought Hooper had a nice game,” Floyd said.  “He had a tough loss, [he] lost a very, very close personal friend, one of his two or three best friends in the world, yesterday morning in that boating accident in Oklahoma that you read about on the front page of USA Today on a duck hunting trip.  This kid was in the home visit when we recruited Hooper, he came out here and visited him a couple of times since he has been out here in El Paso.  So he’s playing in a different place right now emotionally and mentally and I thought he handled it very well.”

UTEP outrebounded UTRGV 54-36 (22 offensive rebounds) and scored 47 points in the paint and 28 off turnovers.

The Miners will open Conference USA play at home on Friday at 7 against Rice.  The game will feature a special halftime performance by the Russian Bar Trio.  RB3 has appeared on America’s Got Talent Season 3, The Oprah Show and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Tickets are available by calling 747-5234.​

Author:  UTEP Athletics

Miners snap the skid, sink Sam Houston State 87-68

Lee Moore scored nine of his game-high 17 points in a 23-0 run early in the game, as UTEP snapped a five-game losing skid with an 87-68 rout of Sam Houston State on Tuesday at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners (7-5) finished third in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational and notched their first victory in the month of December to enter the holiday break on a high note.

SHSU vs UTEP-36“We were pleased with the win,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We’re not going to go too crazy with it.  We understand that we’ve still got a long way to go as a basketball team.  I thought we did a much better job tonight of keeping the ball out of the lane.  We had guys loaded up in the lane and it really helped us.  We went back and defensive rebounded it better against a team that doesn’t look like a great rebounding team physically, but they have been really good collectively.”

Sam Houston State (5-7) scored the game’s first four points.  Less than six minutes later, the Miners led 23-4.  Moore scored the first seven points in the run, and nine of the first 12.  Omega Harris (16 points) and Earvin Morris (11) both hit a pair of three pointers during the spurt.

The Bearkats were able to get within six (32-26) late in the first half, but the Miners closed the period with a 13-4 run to build a 45-30 lead.

The closest Sam Houston State could get in the second half was nine points, as UTEP’s lead reached as many as 24 points.

The Miners limited the Bearkats to 40 percent shooting and outrebounded them 42-36 as Dominic Artis collected his first collegiate double-double.  He finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

“Dominic Artis was really good on the glass.  He was really good in the open floor,” Floyd said.  “I thought we were all willing to make the SHSU vs UTEP-33next easy pass.  The positive stats were the rebounding, getting to the foul line and keeping them off of the foul line, which meant that we didn’t get beat off the dribble all night long and let them in the lane, and we did a better job on the defensive board.”

After taking fewer free throws than their opponent in six straight games, the Miners finished 19-for-28 at the charity stripe to the Bearkats’ 9-for-20.  UTEP also shot 50 percent from the floor and 46 percent (12-for-26) from outside led by Harris, who buried five three pointers in nine attempts.

But the 23-0 run was what ultimately put the wind back in the Miners’ sails.

“It was defensive stops, it was open floor play, it was next easy pass,” Floyd said of the spurt.  “I thought that we kept them out of the lane.  They had to settle for jump shots.  We were very good in the open floor in terms of our decision making, probably the best we have been this year.”

Harris is averaging 18.3 points through three games, shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 54.5 percent from outside and 75 percent from the line.

“The thing that he did best for me [tonight] was at times he pulled it back,” Floyd said.  “He has been a one-speed player, like 99 miles an hour.  Great players can play fullcourt and halfcourt if they need to.”

SHSU vs UTEP-3Floyd was also particularly pleased with the performance of Paul Thomas, who started and contributed five points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in 24 minutes.
“He was told he would stay out there if he could help his teammates when they got beat and fill and keep the ball out of the lane,” Floyd said.  “He tried to go rebound it.  He had two offensive boards in the first three minutes of the game.   We haven’t had that from anybody this year at any time.  So he’s trying.  He’s young, he’s trying to figure it out, but he’s a guy who looks you in the eye and he’s listening, he’s paying attention, he wants to get better and he will get better because he’s an athlete.”

The Miners will take a quick holiday break before returning to action on Tuesday, Dec. 29 against UT Rio Grande Valley in the Haskins Center, their final tuneup prior to the start of Conference USA play.

“I’m hoping that we can grow from this game,” Floyd said.  “Our guys will get away from it for three days.  We’ll be back the night of the 26th [practicing].  We’ll try to regroup and re-earn our crowd support.  We played like a bunch of saps here a couple of games.  But let me say this, every team that beat us is a good basketball team and I’m not sure whether Washington State will get there or not, but the rest of them will be in the NCAA Tournament.  We’re a new group trying to figure it out right now, and maybe we took a step in that direction.”​

Author: UTEP Athletics

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