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Home | Tag Archives: utep miners

Tag Archives: utep miners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UTEP Volleyball inks Paulina Perez Rosas

Head coach Ben Wallis and UTEP Volleyball approach the end of 2019 with the signing of Paulina Perez Rosas.

Perez Rosas will be joining the UTEP family after a two-year stint at UCF. While at UCF, the Puerto Rico native was a part of two conference championship teams.

“We are excited to bring Paulina on board,” Wallis said. “We are mostly excited because she is a prototypical six-rotation outside hitter. In baseball they have five-tool players, well she is a five-tool player. That is a great for our group because we will have a player that can help in all phases of the game, which is important at the college volleyball level. She comes from a really good program at UCF that went to the NCAA tournament this year. She has been training around really good athletes these past two years, and she sat behind two really impeccable outside hitters. She is going to get a chance to compete right away on our roster. We are also very excited that she will be joining us in January. This will give us a chance to train her in our system before she has to play in a real college volleyball game. While we were recruiting her we could tell that she has some moxie and a chip on her shoulder. That is something we really need in our program. I am looking forward to working with her and so are our players. When she came on her visit she got along really well with our group. She chose the Miners and our team over a few other schools that were recruiting her, so we are fired up to get her on board.”

Before beginning her collegiate career she competed for her country on the national stage. The outside hitter is a five-time selection to the Puerto Rican national team, and was the captain of the U15 and U18 squads.

She helped guide Puerto Rico to a fourth-place finish at the NORCECA U20 Pan American Cup in 2017, where she finished 25th in scoring. Perez Rosas also led Puerto Rico in scoring at the NORCECA U18 Pan American Cup in 2016.

For complete coverage of UTEP Volleyball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPVB (Instagram) and @UTEP_VB (Twitter) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics online.

UTEP names T.J. Hubbard Head Softball Coach

UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter has appointed T.J. Hubbard, the 2018 Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, as the Miners’ head softball coach.

Hubbard comes to El Paso after serving as the head coach at Utah Valley University where he engineered a remarkable turnaround, taking over a team that tallied nine wins and guiding it to the no. 2 seed in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament within two years.

“We welcome T.J., his wife Kara and their daughters Sophia, Audrey and Emma to the UTEP family,” Senter said.  “He rose to the top of our list of candidates with his nine years of head coaching experience and his proven track record of turning around programs.  His extensive recruiting connections in the state of Texas also made him an ideal fit for us.  Throughout his coaching career, he has fostered a culture of integrity, discipline and hard work, and his student-athletes have excelled both academically and athletically.  We’re excited about the new era of UTEP Softball.”

“It is an incredible honor and privilege to accept the head coaching position at The University of Texas at El Paso,” Hubbard said.  “I want to thank President Heather Wilson, Jim Senter, Jon Teicher and Julie Levesque for this incredible opportunity and for all their efforts throughout the process.  I can’t wait to get to El Paso and meet our players and staff.  I look forward to working together to build a program that we can all be proud of, a program that will annually compete for the Conference USA Championship.”

The year prior to his arrival (2016), Utah Valley posted an overall record of 9-43 and a 3-12 mark in WAC play.  In year one under Hubbard (2017), the Wolverines increased their victory total to 16 and came within a game of finishing .500 (7-8) in league play.  In year two under Hubbard’s direction (2018), Utah Valley notched 21 victories with a 10-4 WAC slate, and advanced to the postseason National Invitational Softball Championships.

During his three seasons (2017-19) in Orem, Utah, Hubbard coached student-athletes who earned a total of 10 All-WAC honors with a pair of NFCA All-Region accolades.  He also coached the back-to-back WAC Pitcher of the Year (Lauren Frailey Spendlove & Makayla Shadle) and Freshman of the Year (Caragh Morris & Payton Angulo) in 2017 and 2018 respectively.  Off the diamond, his student-athletes fashioned an average cumulative GPA of 3.37 with 15 All-WAC Academic honorees and 33 NFCA Academic All-Americans.

Hubbard’s Utah Valley teams combined for a 24-23 mark in WAC play.  The previous three Utah Valley teams went 11-33 in the league altogether.

The native Oklahoman was the head coach at North Texas from 2008-13, finishing his tenure as the winningest coach in program history.  He racked up 161 wins in six seasons, with four campaigns of 27 victories or more and a school-record 29 wins in both 2010 and 2013.

The Mean Green defeated seven nationally ranked opponents during that time and achieved four top-100 RPI finishes — 2010 (no. 57), 2011 (no. 92), 2012 (no. 84) and 2013 (no. 74).  Hubbard coached 19 All-Sun Belt Conference players and nine Sun Belt All-Tournament players during his time in Denton.

He also coached the only two softball players (Susan Waters & Mallory Cantler) in the North Texas Hall of Fame.

In the classroom, his teams compiled an average GPA of 3.19, and 97 of his student-athletes earned a spot on the Sun Belt Academic Honor Roll.

In-between his separate head coaching stints, Hubbard was the Associate Head Coach at Louisiana (2013-15) and Assistant Coach at Kansas (2015-16).  While at Louisiana, he helped the Ragin’ Cajuns to the 2014 Women’s College World Series and the 2015 Super Regionals with back-to-back Sun Belt Conference titles and 91 wins.

The high-powered Ragin’ Cajun offense ranked first nationally in home runs per game (2.15) and second in scoring (8.15 runs per game) and slugging percentage (.652) in 2015.  Louisiana boasted 15 All-Sun Belt players during Hubbard’s two years in the dugout, including the two-time Sun Belt Player of the Year and four NFCA All-Americans.

Hubbard’s duties at Louisiana included directing the pitch calling and mentoring 2014 Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Year and All-American Christina Hamilton.  His year at Kansas resulted in a winning season (31-20) and a fourth-place finish in the Big XII Conference.

Hubbard has registered 213 victories in nine seasons as a head coach.

Hubbard got his start in coaching as an assistant at Seminole State College from 2002-03, where his efforts helped produce a third-place showing at the NJCAA National Championship, and a 64-16 record.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Non-Clinical Exercise Science/Sports Management from Oklahoma Wesleyan in May, 2002.  He was a three-year letterwinner for the OWU baseball team as a second baseman.

Hubbard and his wife, Kara, have three daughters – Sophia (16), Audrey (12) and Emma (nine).

Thirty-Three UTEP Student Athletes set to graduate

Thirty-three current and former student-athletes will graduate from the University of Texas at El Paso this weekend.

The Miner football program leads the way with seven graduates, followed by softball and women’s track & field (six each), and soccer, men’s track & field and volleyball (three each).  The men’s basketball, men’s golf, women’s golf, rifle and tennis programs have one graduate apiece.

The graduation list includes representatives from Alaska (Alan Busey & Kacey Duffield), The Bahamas (Dreshanae Rolle), Barbados (Kyle Farrell), Canada (Niki Cebak, Ashley Grzebeniak, Payton Ross & Julia Wright), Kenya (Linda Cheruiyot & Winny Koech), Mexico (Aaron Terrazas), The Netherlands (Yvette van Oijen), Nigeria (Rebecca Oshinbanjo) and the United Kingdom (Lily Downs).

Also graduating are El Paso natives Briana Arellano, Markos Lujan, Isaiah Rhyanes and David Rivera.

Cheruiyot and Koech are past recipients of the Conference USA Cross Country Athlete of the Year Award.  Duffield was a first team All-Conference USA honoree for UTEP Softball.  Downs and Terrazas are two of the most decorated performers in UTEP women’s and men’s golf history, respectively.  Soccer’s Alyssa Palacios and Ross are school record-holders.

Twenty-six of the 33 graduates have earned placement on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll (minimum 3.0 grade point average) during their college careers.

Thirteen have been recipients of C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medals (minimum 3.75 GPA) including softball’s Mariah Ellis, soccer’s Kori Lewis and track & field’s Austin Ondijo, who have each been awarded three academic medals during their time at UTEP.

December 2019 UTEP Student-Athlete Graduates

Briana Arellano (Volleyball) – El Paso, Texas

Recorded 418 kills and 619 digs in her career … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … two-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … was awarded the C-USA Spirit of Service Award for her efforts in the El Paso community … Biology major.

Alan Busey (Football) – Anchorage, Alaska

Played in 23 games for the Miners … had 23 catches for 298 yards and a touchdown …  one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Niki Cebak (Volleyball) – Airdrie, Alberta, Canada

Recorded 449 digs and 39 service aces in her career … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Criminal Justice major.

Cierra Chenault (Track & Field) – Alamogordo, N.M.

Placed fourth in the hammer throw and fifth in the high jump at the 2019 Springtime meet … tossed a season-high 12.42m in the shot put at the 2019 C-USA Championships … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Political Science major.

Linda Cheruiyot (Track & Field) – Metkei, Kenya

Named the 2018 Conference USA Cross Country Athlete of the Year … appointed to the 2018 All-C-USA first team … claimed the individual title at the 2018 C-USA Cross Country Championships … part of the Miners’ 2018 C-USA Championship team … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Kinesiology major.

 

Camryn Curtis-Dozier (Football) – Houston, Texas

Played two seasons at Benedictine Junior College before bolstering the depth in the Miners’ receiving corps … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … one-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Mechanical Engineering major.

Lily Downs (Women’s Golf) –Kirklevington, Yarm, United Kingdom

Three-time MVP for the Miner women’s golf team … third team All-Conference USA as a senior … posted 18 top-10 finishes in her career with a championship at the Lady Red Wolf Classic her sophomore year … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Entrepreneurship major.

Kacey Duffield (Softball) – Fairbanks, Alaska

Registered the fifth best slugging percentage in a career at UTEP, and the third-highest fielding percentage in a season during her senior year … named first team All-Conference USA as a senior … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … two-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Mariah Ellis (Softball) – Los Angeles, Calif.

Recorded 22 hits and 19 RBI in her two seasons with UTEP Softball … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … three-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Digital Media Production major.

Kyle Farrell (Track & Field) – Bridgetown, Barbados

Finished in second place in the 200m at the Texas A&M Triangular … member of the 4x100m relay that took third at the Don Kirby Tailwind … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … two-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Madison Gibson (Track & Field) – Pflugerville, Texas

Posted a pair of first-place finishes at the Don Kirby Tailwind in the 400m and 4×100 relay … captured gold in the 4×100 relay at the 2017 C-USA Championships … member of the Miners’ first C-USA Outdoor Championship team in 2017 … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Biology major.

 

Ashley Grzebeniak (Volleyball) – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Amassed over 290 kills and 480 digs in her career … produced 60 blocks and 22 service aces … four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … one-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Kinesiology major.

Ruben Guerra (Football) – Bakersfield, Calif.

Saw action in 25 games for the Miners on the offensive line, while making 20 starts over a four-year span … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Management major.

Bijan Hosseini (Football) – Upland, Calif.

Saw action in 18 games for the Miners on the offensive line, while making six starts over the course of three seasons … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Brandon Jones (Football) – Bakersfield, Calif.

Battled through injuries to play in 12 games in his two seasons as a Miner, while starting six games at quarterback … was 89-of-172 passing with 1,301 yards and six touchdowns … also had three rushing touchdowns in his career … led the Miners to a season-opening victory over Houston Baptist in 2019 … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

 

Winny Koech (Track & Field) – Iten, Kenya

Member of UTEP’s 2018 C-USA Cross Country Championship team … named a 2017 first team All-American … honored as the 2016 C-USA Cross Country Athlete of the Year … three-time All-C-USA first team honoree … 2016 C-USA Cross Country individual champion … 2016 C-USA Cross Country Freshman of the Meet … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Criminal Justice major.

Kori Lewis (Soccer) – Avondale, Ariz.

Four-year starter on defense … played in 67 career games, including 64 starts, and helped the team qualify for the 2019 C-USA Championships … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … three-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Accounting major.

Markos Lujan (Football) – El Paso, Texas

Played in 21 games on the offensive line over the course of his UTEP career … made a total of 12 starts, including 11 games during the 2018 season … Kinesiology major.

Kira McKechnie (Softball) – Sacramento, Calif.

Held opponents to the second-lowest batting average (.239) in UTEP history in 2019 … contributed to UTEP Softball’s sixth no-hitter in 2018 … amassed over 180 strikeouts in the circle … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Austin Ondijo (Track & Field) – Mansfield, Texas

Earned a fifth-place finish in the high jump at the 2019 New Mexico Classic indoors … claimed second place in the high jump at the 2019 UTEP Springtime … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … three-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Forensic Science major.

 

Rebecca Oshinbanjo (Track & Field) – Lagos, Nigeria

Named third-team All-C-USA in the 60m hurdles in 2017 … finished fifth in the 60m hurdles at the 2019 C-USA Indoor Championships … member of the Miners’ 2017 Outdoor C-USA Championship team, the first in program history .. four-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … one-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Economics major.

Alyssa Palacios (Soccer) – Carrollton, Texas

Four-year starter who set the school record for career shutouts (21) while ranking second in save percentage (.825) and total saves (406) and third in GK wins (37) … All-Conference honoree in 2016 … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Isaiah Rhyanes (Men’s Basketball) – El Paso, Texas

Fan favorite who threw down a thunderous dunk for his first collegiate points against Eastern New Mexico on Nov. 15 … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

David Rivera (Track & Field) – El Paso, Texas

Registered a personal-best time (1:00.62) in the 400m hurdles at the 2019 Texas A&M Invitational … competed at four events in the 110m hurdles during the 2019 outdoor season … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … two-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Biology major.

 

Dreshanae Rolle (Track & Field) – Nassau, Bahamas

Member of the Miners’ first Outdoor C-USA Championship team in 2017 … named second team All-C-USA in the 400m outdoors in 2018 … opened the 2018 outdoor season by winning the 4x400m relay at the UTEP Springtime meet … posted a personal best in the 400m hurdles at the 2019 NCAA West Preliminaries … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Payton Ross (Soccer) – Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada

Four-year starter on defense who set the school record for career minutes played (7425) by a Miner field player … started every game (80) of her playing career … three-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … one-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Kinesiology major.

Mara Rouse (Rifle) – Oak Harbor, Wash.

Averaging an 1140 aggregate, with career highs of 579 in smallbore and 591 in air rifle … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Psychology major.

 

Cortney Smith (Softball) – Moreno Valley, Calif.

Hit the fourth-most homers in program history with 31, including 14 during her senior season … had the second-most assists in a career by a Miner, and fielded the third-most double plays in UTEP history … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Health Promotion major.

Jamar Smith (Football) – Lyons, Ga.

Saw action in every game at linebacker during his two seasons as a Miner, while also making 11 starts on defense … recorded 114 tackles (59 solo), 7.5 tackles for losses (17 yards) and a pair of forced fumbles … added a fumble recovery, two passes defended and an interception … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Lindsey Sokoloski (Softball) – Magnolia, Texas

Ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2017 as the toughest player to strike out, fanning just once in 136 at bats … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Aaron Terrazas (Men’s Golf) – Mexico City, Mexico

2017 All-Conference USA First Team selection … 2019 All-Conference USA Second Team choice … played in 30 tournaments for the Miners in three seasons … posted a 72.1 scoring average over 88 rounds, including a career-low 65 as a senior … shot a career-best 15-under-par with a three-round total of 201 in his final season … achieved nine top-10 finishes overall … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

Yvette van Oijen (Tennis) – Nijmegen, Netherlands

Recorded a combined 20 victories, including clinching UTEP’s first C-USA win in three years versus UTSA during the 2019 season … one-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … one-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Graduating with a Masters in Communication.

Julia Wright (Softball) – Langley, British Columbia, Canada

The fifth-winningest pitcher in UTEP history with 18 victories, while ranking second in saves with five … two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … one-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal … Multidisciplinary Studies major.

UTEP Places Four on All-Conference, All-Freshman Teams

UTEP has produced two second team members on Conference USA’s 2019 All-Conference football team, while the Miners also had two student-athletes earn All-Freshman Team honors, it was announced by the league office on Tuesday.

The Miners were represented by offensive lineman Derron Gatewood and defensive end Denzel Chukwukelu on the league’s second team All-Conference squad, while defensive end Praise Amaewhule and longsnapper Tanner Boston both earned All-Freshman Team accolades following their rookie campaigns.

Additionally, UTEP had five players named All-Conference USA Honorable Mention, including OL Bobby DeHaro, DB Michael Lewis, kicker Gavin Baechle, KR Duron Lowe and PR Justin Garrett.

Leading the way for the Miners was senior offensive lineman Derron Gatewood, who started every game for the Miners at center this season after missing the entire 2018 campaign due to injury. Gatewood anchored an offensive line that paved the way for a rushing offense averaging 138.2 yards per game and rushed for 18 touchdowns in 2019.

Chukwukelu also picked up second team honors after playing in every game for the Miners and making 10 starts at defensive end over the course of the season. The senior ended the season tied for the team lead with 5.5 tackles for loss (18 yards) and 3.0 sacks, while he totaled 23 tackles (14 solo) and two pass break-ups on the year.

UTEP’s Praise Amaewhule earned a spot on the All-Freshman team after playing in all 12 games on the defensive line for the Miners, including making eight starts. As a redshirt freshman, Amaewhule registered 28 total tackles (16 solo) and tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (5.5-24 yards) and sacks (3.0-20 yards). The Katy, Texas, native also tied for the team lead with three QB hurries and ranked third defensively with three pass break-ups.

Joining Amaewhule on C-USA’s All-Freshman team was longsnapper Tanner Boston, who saw action in every game for the Miners in 2019. Boston did not have a snap go awry this season while handling more than 100 snaps on special teams for UTEP. The Miners did give up a blocked field goal this season with Boston snapping the ball, while his efforts helped the Miners rank third in C-USA in opponents return average (4.1).

For the second year in a row, DeHaro earned All-Conference USA honorable mention accolades after starting every game for the Miners this season at left guard. DeHaro was the only returning starter in 2019 for the Miners on the offensive line from the previous season.

Defensively, senior safety Michael Lewis was also named Honorable Mention after leading the Miners with 96 total tackles (52 solo) on the season, which was 23 more tackles than the second-leading tackler on the team. Lewis started every game for UTEP in 2019 and registered at least three tackles in all 12 games. The senior also posted 10-plus tackles five times on the season, including a career-high 14 tackles against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 26.

On special teams, UTEP had three members earn Honorable Mention accolades, including kicker Gavin Baechle and return specialists Duron Lowe and Justin Garrett.

Baechle was 13-for-16 on field goals in 2019, including five field goals of 40-plus yards, while he was one of only four C-USA kickers perfect this season on point-after attempts (22-22). The sophomore ranked second on the team behind the team’s touchdown leader in Treyvon Hughes in scoring with 61 points. Baechle booted a career-long 46-yard field goal early in the season at Southern Miss, while he also handled kickoff duties for the Miners with 39 kickoffs for 2,417 yards (57.5 avg.) and 22 touchbacks.

In the return game, the Miners were led by Lowe and Garrett, who both garnered Honorable Mention recognition. Lowe returned 11 kickoffs for 281 yards with an average of 25.5 per return and a 100-yard kick returned for a touchdown at North Texas. In that game, Lowe had five kick returns for 204 yards, which is the second-most kick return yards in a game in UTEP history.

Garrett handled the majority of punt returns for the Miners this season and picked up Honorable Mention honors after returning 15 punts for 83 yards and an average of 5.5 yards per return on the season. Garrett posted returns of 10 or more yards three different times for the Miners in 2019.

For complete coverage of UTEP Football, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPFB (Twitter/Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

C-USA announces Bryson Williams as Men’s Basketball Player of the Week

DALLAS – UTEP MBB’s Bryson Williams displayed solid numbers during the Miners’ past two games, as Conference USA announced the redshirt junior the men’s Player of the Week presented by Top of the World Monday afternoon.

Williams averaged 23 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one block and 1.5 steals, leading UTEP to a 1-1 week with a narrow 59-56 setback at NM State (Dec. 3) and a 57-50 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 7).

The Fresno, Calif., product made 15-of-24 shots (62.5 percent), 4-of-6 three pointers (66.7 percent) and 12-of-13 free throws (.923) in the two games. Williams scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half at NM State.  He became the first UTEP player to score 27 points or more in consecutive games since Randy Culpepper in 2011 (Williams scored 33 points versus East Central on Nov. 27).

Against NM State, Williams was 9-for-13 from the field, 4-for-6 from three-point territory (career highs from outside the arc), and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe while securing nine rebounds. He followed that up with 19 points, including a big three-point play with 2:13 to go, against UAPB.

Williams made 6-of-11 shots and was 7-for-7 at the line with seven rebounds and three steals versus UAPB.

Williams and the Miners will take on North Carolina A&T on Dec. 16 (7 p.m.) in the first round of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.

UTEP to award degrees to 2,400 Students during 2019 Winter Commencement

This weekend, the University of Texas at El Paso will celebrate more than 2,450 summer and winter graduates during UTEP’s four Commencement ceremonies.

Saturday’s celebrations at the Don Haskins Center are at 9 a.m. for the College of Liberal Arts; 2 p.m. for the colleges of Business Administration and Education; and 7 p.m. for the College of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing. There will be one ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday for the colleges of Engineering and Science.

UTEP’s Interim Provost John Wiebe, Ph.D., will preside over each ceremony.

A handful of inaugural degrees in the colleges of Science, Liberal Arts and Extended University’s UTEP Connect – the University’s suite of online degree programs — will be awarded during this year’s Commencement ceremonies.

Nina Beltran is a candidate for UTEP’s first interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience during Saturday morning’s College of Liberal Arts ceremony.

This is the first interdisciplinary degree between the colleges of Science and Liberal Arts, housed in the Department of Psychology. The degree plan provides broad training in biology, biochemistry, chemistry and psychology, with specialized training in a wide array of possible fields chosen by the student. The program prepares graduates for careers or continued graduate or professional education in neuroscience or related areas.

UTEP also will award the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) degree in the College of Liberal Arts through UTEP Connect for the first time.

This degree launched in fall 2018 and is designed specifically for individuals who earned an associate degree in a health occupation or technical field and would like to enhance their career options. The BAAS degree plan consists of both online and face-to-face classes with foundation courses in communication and rhetoric and writing studies, and several 15-hour concentration options geared toward the student’s interests.

UTEP will livestream all Commencement ceremonies. Since its introduction during the 2012 Winter Commencement, livestreaming of UTEP’s Commencement has become a popular option that enables thousands of Miners and viewers from around the world to join the celebration.

The livestream can be accessed from any desktop computer, mobile device or tablet at utep.edu.

The “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture at UTEP’s Sun Bowl-University Roundabout will be illuminated in blue and orange from Wednesday evening, Dec. 11, through Sunday evening, Dec. 15, to commemorate UTEP’s Class of 2019.

“Mining Minds” is an iconic piece of public art installed in 2010 to enhance The University of Texas at El Paso campus. At night, orange lights illuminate the steel structure while light from LEDs emanate from the perforated “ones” and “zeroes” at each end of the pick.

On special occasions, including historic dates, major annual milestones and to celebrate special accomplishments, the pick is illuminated in blue and orange. Learn more about the statue and its artist at miningminds.utep.edu.

For general information on UTEP’s 2019 Winter Commencement, visit the graduation website.

To make the most of the Commencement experience, graduates and guests should be aware of the following:

Glory Road Closure

Glory Road from Oregon Street to Randolph Drive will be closed in order to enhance pedestrian safety, ease traffic congestion and help with the flow of crowds from the Don Haskins Center to Celebration Plaza.

El Paso Streetcar

The El Paso Streetcar will run on a normal schedule both Saturday and Sunday during Commencement weekend. Hours of operation are 10 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-midnight Sunday.

Commencement Parking

Parking Map – click here

Free parking:

  • Accessible via Glory Road: GR2.
  • Accessible via Sun Bowl Drive: Lots SB2, SB3, SB10 and the Sun Bowl Parking Garage. SB7 will have reserved parking for event staff, but the remaining spaces will be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Accessible via Schuster Avenue: Lots SC1, SC2, SC3, SC4, and Schuster Parking Garage

Parking with Fee: 

  • Glory Road Transfer Center and Parking Garage (accessible via Glory Road at Mesa Street): $10
  • Public monthly and daily parking lot at 3003 S. Mesa St.

ADA Parking: 

  • Permit required, Lots SB8 and ME1 near Don Haskins Center.

Don Haskins Center Policies

Guests may not bring food, drinks, baby strollers, balloons, noisemakers, fireworks, poppers, glass containers, tripods or banners into the Don Haskins Center during Commencement.

What:           UTEP’s Winter Commencement

When:          Saturday, Dec. 14: 9 a.m. for the College of Liberal Arts; 2 p.m.

For the colleges of Business Administration and Education; and 7 p.m. for the College of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing

Sunday, Dec. 15: 2 p.m. for the colleges of Engineering and Science

Where:         UTEP’s Don Haskins Center, 151 Glory Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter)@utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or click here to visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

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

UTEP to play host to unbeaten, ranked Arizona Saturday afternoon

The UTEP women’s basketball team (7-1) will face a tremendous test when it plays host to undefeated and No. 20/19 Arizona (8-0) at 1 p.m. MT Saturday.

“This is by far the best Arizona team they’ve had in many, many years. They were good last year but they added some more pieces to the puzzle. They could make a run in the NCAA Tournament. They could go pretty deep I think,” Miner head coach Kevin Baker shared. “They’ll be a frontrunner to win the Pac-12. I think that they are really going to be a dangerous team. As far as our team is concerned, we have nothing to lose in the game.”

The Miners are riding a four-game win streak, including besting Weber State, 70-51, on December 5. The 2019 WNIT Champion Wildcats have won 14 straight games dating to last year, including being off to an 8-0 start in 2019-20.

UTEP is playing for the second time in three days, in addition to closing out its seven-game homestand (5-1 in stretch). 

UTEP is 7-1 on the year, its best start of the Kevin Baker era. It also is the top beginning to a season in four years (8-0, 2015-16). Five of the victories have been by double figures, including three of at least 20 points.

The Miners had their largest differential (+45) under Baker in a 92-47 drubbing of Alcorn State (11/16), in addition to toppling Western Michigan (11/29) by 30 (76-46) and a 20-point (65-45) dispatching of NM State (11/23).

UTEP is 1-19 all time against ranked opponents, most recently being clipped by eight (85-77) by No. 11 Penn State in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament on March 18, 2012. The Miners’ lone victory against a ranked team came in a 50-46 home win against No. 11 Utah on Jan. 31, 1998.

No. 20/19 Arizona is the first ranked team to face UTEP in El Paso since No. 22 Houston snuck past the Miners, 68-64, on March 10, 2011, in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament. 

The first 600 fans in attendance will receive a special UTEP T-shirt. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with Colin Deaver and Izabela Piekarska on the call. It will also be streamed through 600 ESPN El Paso with Brandon Cohn and Traci Miller on the call.

Video+Story: UTEP stops Weber State 70-51

Senior Jade Rochelle provided a huge spark off the bench by setting career highs in points (15) and steals (six) to help the UTEP women’s basketball team topple Weber State, 70-51, at the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game we played all year and it wasn’t the best game we played all year but wins come in all shapes and sizes,” head coach Kevin Baker said. “You have to take the ugly ones when you have to. We started off the game slow and didn’t have much energy. I’m really proud of the team for fighting through. They toughed it out. You’ve got to give Weber State credit too. They played really well at times.”

Katarina Zec (15 points) and Katia Gallegos (12 points) also reached double figures in the Miners’ (7-1) fourth consecutive win. The Wildcats (1-5) put up quite a fight, but UTEP had enough in the tank to continue its best start to a year during the Kevin Baker era.

UTEP won the boards (42-35), thanks primarily to Ariona Gill’s career-high 14 rebounds. Gill added seven points to flirt with the double-double. But the night was stolen by Rochelle, who was electric in her 21 minutes off the pine. She connected on 6-10 from the floor, in addition to going 3-3 at the free throw line. Her presence was equally felt on the defensive end where she came up one steal shy of cracking UTEP’s top-10 single-game list.

Another factor was the Miners’ defense forcing 31 turnovers, the most by a UTEP opponent in four years. WSU was held to 35.6 percent (16-45) from the floor, including 23.1 percent (3-13) from 3-point range. UTEP connected on 34.4 percent from the floor but made up for it by getting to the free throw line 39 times (24 makes).

The Miners had 12 assists on their 21 field goals made, with freshman Katia Gallegos tallying a game-high five.

Weber State got out to an early 6-3 lead before the Miners scored six straight points to grab a 9-6 advantage with 1:38 to play in the opening quarter. The Wildcats wrapped a 12-4 run around the quarter break to vault out by five (18-13) and prompt a Baker timeout with 6:44 left in the half.

UTEP responded by closing out the quarter on a 16-4 push, including scoring seven straight at one point, to head into the locker room armed with a 29-22 lead. The Miners going 10-12 at the line in the second quarter helped compensate for them shooting 4-15 in the period.

The visitors battled back to get the margin down to one (33-32) at 6:29 of the third quarter, but UTEP didn’t flinch. It answered the run by scoring the game’s next eight points to go out by nine. The Miners continued to pour it on as the quarter wore on, extending their lead to 14 (52-38) heading to the final frame. UTEP didn’t let the visitors get closer than 11 from that point on.

UTEP returns to action at home against No. 20/19 Arizona at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. The first 600 fans in attendance will receive a special UTEP T-shirt. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

For complete coverage of UTEP women’s basketball, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPWBB (Twitter)@utepwbb (Instagram) and on Facebook or click here to visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

Video highlights courtesy of UTEP

UTEP aiming to get back on winning track against UAPB Saturday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hughes earns C-USA Football All-Academic Honors

UTEP running back Treyvon Hughes has been named to the 2019 InTouch Credit Union Conference USA Football All-Academic Team after excelling both on the field and in the classroom for the Miners.

Hughes, a four-year letterman for the Miners, is one of 11 C-USA football student-athletes named to this year’s All-Academic Team, while a total of 10 schools are represented on the team.

The senior back boasts a 3.42 GPA as a graduate student in UTEP’s leadership studies master’s program. Additionally, Hughes was named to the 2019 Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll last spring.

On the gridiron, Hughes led the Miners this season in carries (167), rushing yards (682) and rushing touchdowns (12).

His 12 touchdowns on the year ranked second in Conference USA and 20th nationally, while he scored a touchdown in all but four games for the Miners this season.

Over the course of his senior campaign, Hughes became the first UTEP player to rush for 10 or more touchdowns in a season since Aaron Jones had 17 in 2016.

Hughes also rushed for multiple scores in a game on three separate occasions in 2019, including scoring three touchdowns in a road game at North Texas.

For complete coverage of UTEP Football, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPFB (Twitter/Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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