UTEP gets back in the win column with a win over Sam Houston State 87-68. Check out Andres Acosta’s view of the game (and the Sun Bowl Royal Court) with tonight’s Story in Six Pics
On a night that would see one team win their first game in the past four attempts; the rivalry that is the Battle of I-10 added another page to the chapter, one UTEP would prefer to forget, falling to NM State 73 to 53 at the Don Haskins Center.
The Aggies jumped to 14-0 lead before the Miners made their first shot after going 0 for 7 from the field.
“We got ourselves in a hell of a hole by turning the ball over four straight times, I like the way we tried to fight back. We played some box, it helped us get back in it,” UTEP head coach, Tim Floyd said. “We got some spirited play from Omega Harris off the bench.”
The Aggies would maintain a double-digit lead for the majority of the first half, until the Miners went on a 16-5 run and take their first lead of the game, 31-29, with 57 seconds left in the half off a three-point shot from Harris.
It was Harris’ first game of the season making a positive contribution off the bench, scoring 23 of the team’s 39 bench points.
UTEP head coach, Tim Floyd said Harris will eventually be a starter, but it was the lone bright spot on the night.
Lee Moore and Terry Winn struggled to find any rhythm throughout the game shooting a combined 3 of 20 from the field for seven points.
Floyd was asked if Moore’s play would hinder his status as a starter going forward, ‘playing his way out’ of the lineup.
“We’re learning something about our guys every night out. You’re asking me what I think. Do I think this guy can play his way out?” Floyd said. “I don’t know, I don’t know who this guy is right now, we’re going to find out. This is where you suck them up, you play hard, you play with confidence…if you miss a few shots, get in the gym and spend an extra hour in the gym shooting. That’s all I know to do.”
UTEP led the Aggies 17 to 14 in rebounding in the first half, but ended the night losing the battle 38 to 27; getting out-muscled on the defensive end.
“My entire career we’ve been able to take a really good player out of the game on the perimeter, we have not been able to do that since we played (Gian) Clavell from Colorado State,” Floyd said. “We’re going to have to get back to it, if it truly is important then we’re going to have to get back to finding somebody, not necessarily changing what we’re doing, but finding somebody that can that’s on our roster, come in and do that. Our guys are simply not making enough shots offensively.”
The Aggies would regain the lead by one before the half, but the Miners managed to erase the 14-0 lead their rival had to begin the game.
UTEP’s bench play was vital in the surging comeback, outscoring NMSU’s bench 28-1 in the first half. But the comeback win would never happen as the Aggies kept pulling away as the second had winded down.
“This is basketball, it’s a game of runs. We knew they were going to go on a run. They went on a pretty good one and cut it to one,” Aggies guard, Ian Baker said. “At half time, he (coach Mavin Menzies) just told us to keep doing what we’re doing and they’ll break eventually.”
What was once a one-point lead turned into a 20-point advantage for the Aggies downing the Miners 73-53 and ending their three-game losing streak while the Miners lose their fourth-consecutive game.
Baker led all scorers with 26 points going six of seven from behind the three-point line.
“Honestly the thing that had me going was my mother came in from D.C. She was at the game tonight. I just wanted to give her something to remember while she was there, that was kind of in the back of my mind the whole game,” Baker said. “At the same time, I wanted to get the second win against UTEP, I want to at least split with our rivalry game.”
Both programs entered the night with three-game losing streaks: NMSU’s last win was against the Miners on Dec. 2 which also was UTEP’s first loss of the season after beginning the season with six consecutive victories.
The win for the Aggies is also their first non-conference road win since Dec. 17 2013. NMSU improves to 6-5 while dropping the Miners to 6-4.
UTEP has a quick turnaround as they host the Sun Bowl invitational and take on Norfolk State on Monday, while the Aggies also have two days to prepare for Oral Roberts.
The Miners had their hands full against an upstart UT Arlington team that already knocked off Ohio State and Memphis this year, eventually losing Saturday night 76 to 62.
The Mavricks’ (7-2) spacing gave UTEP fits, while the Miners missed on second-chance opportunities, failed to capitalize on uncontested layups and dunk, rebounding and at the free-throw line.
With the Miners coming off their first loss of the season, after falling to rival NM State 73 to 59 on Wednesday, Coach Floyd hoped his team would rebound, both literally and figuratively.
“They got to the on the road, their zone at the start of the second half, we didn’t attack it very well, nor did we make shots out of it,” UTEP head coach, Tim Floyd said. “We did not offensive rebounded very well, that being said, I thought Terry Winn had a fine game. He did a good job, other than that, I think a lot of these guys would like to play a little better and at a higher level.”
The Mavericks took a 5-0 lead to begin the game and would go on a 13-3 run just before the half to keep the five-point lead into the second half.
The Miners’ struggles continued to begin the second half, allowing the Mavericks to take a 47-34 lead. It was then when UTEP would tighten things up on the defensive end and go on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to four.
The Mavericks had a different idea regaining their double-digit lead to pull away for the eventual 14-point win.
“I thought that they were the best screening team that we’ve played against, the best passing team that we’ve played against. Probably had the best player, along with (NMSU’s Pascal) Siakam that we’ve played against,” Floyd said. “I thought that they just did a terrific job with ball movement, showing great poise on the road. It’s obvious that they’ve been at tough places at Ohio State and Memphis…we knew they would not be intimidated in any way coming in here and they weren’t.”
The Miners were outrebounded 41 to 34 by the Mavericks, but it was from behind the arch that the Miners would lose the battle sinking only five of 23 attempts from the three-point line to the Maverick’s nine of 28.
The Miners, now 6-2, will take a week off and prepare to travel to Washington State where they will attempt to break the losing streak.
“Not coming off two losses, maybe a month would be appropriate,” Floyd joked about the time off between now and the next game. “Let’s face it, the team we played is 11th ranked in the RPI, that’s a good basketball team and we’ve got a long way to go. We’re trying to figure out who we are against good teams and it’s not going to get any easier.”
UTEP returned home Saturday night to take on UT Arlington. The Mavericks (7-2), who have also won at Ohio State and Memphis, went ahead for good, 26-25, on a layup by Erick Neal with 5:33 remaining in the first half after the Miners enjoyed a series of early leads.
Andres Acosta was there and brings you this Story in Six Pics
UTEP senior guard Earvin Morris was selected the Conference USA Player of the Week on Monday, and the Miners picked up votes in both top-25 national polls.
UTEP, off to a 6-0 start for the first time in 15 years, received three votes in the Associated Press Poll and one in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Morris was named MVP of the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic after leading UTEP to the championship with a 99-90, double overtime victory over Colorado State. He scored 22 of his 28 points after halftime as the Miners rallied from a 47-30 deficit at the break.
He made 10-of-17 shots and 7-of-8 free throws in 40 minutes while adding four rebounds and a blocked shot.
Morris’ three pointer with 23 seconds remaining in regulation tied the game at 73 and sent it into overtime. He scored 15 points in the second half and seven in the overtime periods.
Morris scored eight of his 12 points in the second half against Southern Illinois, including a layup with 42 seconds left that pushed a one-point lead to three. The Miners beat the Salukis 71-66.
Earlier in the week, Morris scored 12 points with six rebounds and four assists in a 72-54 win over Florida A&M. Morris averaged 17.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.3 spg for the week with a .559 (19-for-34) field goal percentage, .300 (3-for-10) three-point field goal percentage and .733 (11-for-15) free throw percentage.
UTEP will play at I-10 rival NM State on Wednesday before hosting UT Arlington on Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m.
Author: UTEP Athletics
Lee Moore scored 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half as UTEP coasted to a 72-54 victory over Florida A&M on Tuesday at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners have started 4-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1987-88 and 1988-89. UTEP has held its first four opponents under 40 percent shooting for the first time since the 1973-74 season as the Rattlers (2-3) converted 34.5 percent of their attempts on Tuesday.
The 1973-74 squad, which limited opponents to 38.1 percent accuracy on the year, opened the season by holding seven straight foes under 40 percent.
On Tuesday, the Miners built a big lead early before overcoming a second half in which they committed 18 of their 21 turnovers.
“I thought it was a very sloppy game on our part, and the first half wasn’t,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “Really poor job of getting into play offensively and defensively [in the second half]. I thought the game became about ‘Let me see how many points I can get by trying to steal everything.’ It was very, very ugly basketball in the second half and it’s got to be better. We don’t practice that way, but for some reason something kicked in for the second half that wasn’t real pretty. Agenda wise, points wise, me getting mine, whatever it was, but I didn’t like it.”
After the teams played to a 2-2 tie in the first 30 seconds, the Miners went on a 12-0 run to surge to a 14-2 lead. Hooper Vint (six points) and Moore (five) accounted for 11 of the 12 points in the spurt.
UTEP continued to pour it on as Moore made 5-of-6 shots, 3-of-4 three pointers and both free throw tries in the opening 20 minutes.
The lead hit 20 (36-16) when Paul Thomas made a free throw with 4:30 remaining in the half. The Miners were ahead 48-24 at the midway point.
Florida A&M scored 15 points off turnovers in the second half and whittled a 31-point deficit down to 14 (68-54) when Justin Ravenal buried a three-pointer with 3:30 remaining. But the Rattlers didn’t score again and UTEP closed it out with two buckets by Earvin Morris.
Morris scored nine of his 12 points in the second half. Terry Winn scored in double figures for the first time as a Miner (12 points) and was responsible for 10 of UTEP’s 17 free throw attempts. Hooper Vint tallied 10 points and a career-high nine boards, narrowly missing recording his first collegiate double-double.
Christian Romine was pulled from redshirt status and posted four points and a rebound, all in the first half.
UTEP outrebounded Florida A&M 38-33. Vint, Thomas (seven rebounds) and Morris (six rebounds) were the main factors on the glass.
After the game, Floyd provided updates on the Miners’ missing players.
“Brodricks Jones will have surgery tomorrow,” he said. “The positive is that it’s a meniscus and not cartilage. We don’t know the extent of the meniscus tear at this point. It can be as little as three and a half to four weeks, or as much as three months [recovery time] depending on what they find when they go in there. In Matt [Willms’] case, he is going to have surgery on his foot and he will be finished for this year. It’s an eight-month recovery on a very difficult surgery. We’ll just hope for the best with him. Tevin Caldwell is going through concussion protocol right now and is basically day-to-day. He has to clear some different levels before he’s allowed to come back and play with us, and we’ll hope for the best there. We could’ve used his energy tonight in that second half. He’s a guy that’s always trying to do what you’re asking him to do and not get outside of it. We’ll look forward to his return whenever that is. No updates on Josh McSwiggan. His appeal was filed today and we’ll hope for the best on that.”
The Miners will depart for Corpus Christi on Wednesday and play two games at the American Bank Center this weekend. UTEP will take on Southern Illinois on Friday (Nov. 27) at 1:30 p.m. MT, and either Colorado State or Portland on Saturday (Nov. 28) at 3 p.m. MT. Both games in Corpus Christi will be televised on the American Sports Network.
Southern Illinois topped Oakland 97-88 on Tuesday night to move to 5-0 on the year. Friday’s UTEP-Southern Illinois game will be the only one in college basketball that day matching two undefeated teams.
Author: UTEP Athletics
Conference USA’s initial round of national TV selections is complete, and five UTEP men’s basketball games have been picked up for telecast during the 2015-16 season. CBS Sports Network has two games and FOX Sports has three. All are conference games.
CBS Sports Network will carry the Miners’ games at UAB (Jan. 9, noon MT) and home versus LA Tech (Feb. 20, 2 p.m. MT).
FOX Sports Network has chosen UTEP’s game at LA Tech (Jan. 31, 2 p.m. MT) and at Old Dominion (Feb. 25, 5 p.m. MT). FOX Sports 1 will air the Miners’ home game versus Western Kentucky (Feb. 6, 3 p.m. MT).
Additional TV games remain a possibility via the American Sports Network and will be announced when finalized.
The Miners will play 20 home games, including six straight to open the season, and participate in the Corpus Christi Coastal Classic over Thanksgiving weekend. The slate also features the renewal of the I-10 rivalry series with NM State and a matchup at Washington State, continuing a four-game set with the Cougars out of the Pac-12 Conference.
The Miners will join Norfolk State, Sam Houston State and UC Irvine in the 54th annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational Dec. 21-22. The tournament features four 20-win teams, including the Miners who were 22-11 a year ago.
Over the last two seasons the Miners have posted 45 victories, including a combined mark of 25-9 in Conference USA play.
On March 19, 1966 Texas Western College — now known as the University of Texas at El Paso — captured the NCAA championship with a 72-65 upset of top-ranked Kentucky. The game bore tremendous historical significance as the legendary Don Haskins became the first coach to start five black players in the title game.
To this day, UTEP remains the only Division I school in the state of Texas to win a national championship in men’s basketball. The 50th anniversary of the 1965-66 Miners will be celebrated this season, and UTEP’s plans to salute the historic group will be unveiled in the very near future.
Author: UTEP Athletics