The University of Texas at El Paso is providing the community with a new way to come together to support a specific cause. Similar to crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe and KickStarter, UTEP’s Pick A Project platform supports an array of campus initiatives through crowd-based giving.
UTEP’s Office of Institutional Advancement launched Pick A Project as an additional fundraising channel to give interested donors opportunities to impact a range of UTEP’s unique and diverse research projects, student initiatives, and campus activities, through tax-deductible donations.
The crowdfunding platform went live December 3, with four projects. Each project is managed by a project-specific student, faculty and/or staff group, and donors, alumni and friends can share projects through their own social media accounts, as well as track progress to help generate even greater support for their favorites.
Each project will have an established goal to be fully funded, with the initial four hoping to reach their goals in 45 days. New projects will post on the site regularly, and donations can be made using a convenient and secure online form.
Jim Senter, UTEP’s director of athletics and interim vice president of institutional advancement, said the impetus for Pick A Project began when UTEP realized our alumni and friends have varying interests and want the ability to support exciting initiatives throughout the campus. With this comes the enjoyment from interacting digitally and supporting specific needs.
“Pick A Project empowers people to get involved by sharing the projects they have supported and enjoyed and make an impact on student, faculty, and staff initiatives that can be fully funded through the power of collective giving,” Senter said.
Faculty, staff or student groups interested in hosting a project should submit an application via this website.
The launch of Pick A Project has been coordinated in conjunction with Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage giving and to celebrate generosity worldwide.
Students from three departments within The University of Texas at El Paso College of Engineering will be poised for future employment opportunities thanks to a $120,000 pledge from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to support interdisciplinary research involving artificial intelligence.
The college’s departments of Industrial Manufacturing and Systems Engineering, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering will engage students in an interdisciplinary research project involving non-destructive testing (NDT), an analysis method to evaluate the properties of a material, component, structure or system used that is a major component of aircraft safety.
Leading the effort is Bill Tseng, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Industrial Manufacturing and Systems Engineering. Tseng is joined by co-investigator Yirong Lin, Ph.D., associate professor, and graduate program director of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Several types of NDT methods are used to test aircraft, including liquid penetrant and ultrasonic testing. Liquid penetrant testing is one of the most widely used NDT methods in the aerospace industry to reveal cracks that may exist on the surface of aircraft materials.
Ultrasonic NDT is the most common sub-surface inspection technique, which uses high-frequency sound waves to locate defects under the surface. Artificial intelligence represents a growing realm in NDT studies, and UTEP students will conduct comprehensive work aimed at building automated procedures to enhance production of aircraft components.
“This applied research project is truly interdisciplinary work and it provides a great opportunity for our students from various majors to work together closely to explore knowledge in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) and NDT,” Tseng said. “Through this project, our students will grow not only on a professional level but also personally in order to become effective team players and communicators.”
The development of an AI-assisted classification system could lead to a manufacturing control mechanism for real-time visualization, analysis, and management that may be implemented in association with the information of image detection, various statistical data, and design parameters in aircraft component production lines.
“This project will train our students in composites manufacturing and in using AI to automatically detect defects, thus predicting remaining useful life of key aircraft components,” Lin said. “The project will help Lockheed Martin increase aircraft reliability and lower maintenance costs.”
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
The University of Texas at El Paso’s Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems (CTIS) has received a $590,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to investigate and implement a test protocol for evaluating the cracking potential of asphalt mixes before they are placed on the roads.
The project’s principal investigator is Soheil Nazarian, Ph.D., professor of civil engineering. He is joined by co-principal investigators Imad Abdallah, Ph.D., research associate professor of civil engineering and executive director of CTIS; and Victor Garcia, a CTIS research associate.
Staff members involved in the project include Sergio Rocha, research associate, and Jose Garibay, laboratory coordinator. In addition, a graduate student and several undergraduate students will gain research experience.
“This project minimizes the guessing game on which asphalt mixture will or will not crack. Given that about 95% of our nation’s paved roads are covered with asphaltic materials, this project not only offers a learning opportunity for our students, it will bring tremendous savings to taxpayers as well,” Nazarian said.
The main goal of this effort is to develop guidelines that can direct pavement engineers to select asphalt mixtures with satisfactory cracking resistance. The CTIS research team will lead the laboratory evaluation of pavement materials.
The team is currently validating the testing processes and specifications developed through a separate research project completed at UTEP in 2016. Several TxDOT districts have volunteered to implement the UTEP suggestions in their ongoing construction projects.
“The service life of asphalt pavement is significantly shortened when it cracks prematurely. We are developing durable long-lasting materials,” Garcia said.
To learn more about the Center for Transportation Infrastructure Systems, visit their website.
The American Colligate Hockey Association (ACHA)recently released the new national rankings for Division II club hockey.
The UTEP Hockey Club is now ranked 8th in the West Region, one spot higher than the previous week. Miners enter the winter break 15-1 overall and lead TCHC 10-0 so far this season.
Along with the Miners, University of Mary, U of Providence, Weber State, Montana State, Northern Arizona, University of Oregon, Utah State, Boise State and East Texas Baptist all rank within the Top 10.
Austin Simpson leads the Miners with 53 points (25 G, 28 A) – which is six points shy of last season at the winter break. Two weeks ago against Arizona State, Simpson scored five goals – his seventh multi-goal game of the season.
Freshman Scott Kasaboski has logged 540 minutes in net for the Miners. With a 8-1 record, Kasaboski has a .921 save percentage and has recorded 280 saves.
UTEP will drop the puck on the second half of the season against Texas A&M January 6 and 7 at home.
DALLAS – UTEP women’s basketball guard Arina Khlopkova has been named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday afternoon. She is the first Miner to secure the honor in three years.
She helped the Miners go 2-0 at the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic by setting career highs for scoring in back-to-back games. Overall on the week she averaged 17.0 points on 58.8 percent (10-17) shooting, including 57.1 percent (4-7) from the 3-point line. She also was a combined 83.3 percent (10-12) from the charity stripe.
Khlopkova started things off by putting up a then career-best 14 points in only 16 minutes in the 30-point win against Western Michigan on Nov. 29. That was followed up by tallying a team-high and career-best 20 points in the 71-68 victory against Georgia State on Nov. 30.
She took a key charge late in the game, in addition to sinking a free-throw to extend the Miners’ lead to three with seven seconds left. She was making her first career start against the Panthers.
UTEP will shoot for its fourth straight win when it plays host to Weber State at 7 p.m. MT Thursday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
Freshmen Arina Khlopkova (career-best 20 points) Katia Gallegos (13 points, career-high eight rebounds) Avery Crouse (career-best 11 points) all had big nights to help lead the UTEP women’s basketball team to a 71-68 victory against Georgia State in its final game of the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic Saturday evening.
The Miners (6-1) forced 20 turnovers, including Khlopkova drawing a charge late in the game, to help topple the upset-minded Panthers (1-5). At 6-1, UTEP is off to the best start of the Kevin Baker era but Georgia State didn’t make it easy. There were eight ties and nine lead changes in a back-and-forth battle.
It was tied at 68 with 1:42 to play when Gallegos split through traffic for the go-ahead lay-up. Georgia State missed a pair of shots to either tie or retake the lead late, and Khlopkova put the finishing touches on the win with a free throw with seven seconds left.
“Hats off to Georgia State, I thought they played a terrific game,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “They gave us a heck of a game out there. I’m really proud the way that we gutted out the win. Our young kids really stepped up. They did fantastic. I’m not surprised. They’re all very talented.”
UTEP overcame an off shooting night (37.1 percent) by taking care of business at the charity stripe (19-24, 79.2 percent) and turning up the pressure to force the aforementioned 20 turnovers.
Sabine Lipe came off the bench to chip in four points, four rebounds and four assists while Ariana Taylor netted six points to go along with two boards. UTEP took good care of the ball, committing only 11 turnovers.
Georgia State was led by Taylor Hosendove’s huge double-double (21 points, 19 rebounds). Jada Lewis (17 points) and Tehya Lyons (10 points) also reached double figures for the Panthers.
The visitors got out quickly, securing an 14-9 cushion with 3:30 to play in the opening frame. UTEP struck back with seven straight points, including five courtesy of Khlopkova, to grab a two-point cushion (16-14) late in the frame. Georgia State connected on a triple in the final minute of the frame to carry a 17-16 edge into the second quarter of play.
GSU was up by two (23-21) with 6:22 left before UTEP blitzed the Panthers with eight straight points to suddenly go up by six (29-23). It was back-and-forth the remainder of the half, with the Miners armed with an eight-point advantage (42-34) through 20 minutes of action. The Orange and Blue outscored GSU, 26-17, in the frame.
The Panthers opened up the second half with an 8-2 surge to cut UTEP’s advantage down to two (44-42) and prompt Baker to call timeout. The Miners got a basket from Jade Rochelle out of the break. After a score from GSU, Zec drilled the corner triple to put the home side back out by five. It was cut to two (49-47), but once again UTEP had a response.
This time it was four straight free throws, which helped the Miners eventually maintain a three-point margin (57-54) through three quarters.
It remained a three-point differential (59-56) early in the fourth quarter before GSU tallied five straight to take its first lead since the opening quarter at 61-59. It was a seesaw battle the rest of the way, with the Miners emerging victorious.
UTEP will shoot for its fourth straight win when it plays host to Weber State at 7 p.m. MT Thursday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
Aston Walter rushed for 149 yards, including a 64-yard scamper in the fourth quarter that set up Rice’s final touchdown, and the Owls topped UTEP in the season finale for both teams, 30-16, on Saturday.
Rice (3-9, 3-5 C-USA) ended the campaign on a three-game win streak, while denying UTEP (1-11, 0-8 C-USA) a shot at its second victory. Twenty-two seniors played their final game for the Miners.
The Miners led 16-14 at halftime but were held scoreless over the final 30 minutes after quarterback Kai Locksley exited with an apparent hand injury.
Jovoni Johnson chipped in with 62 yards rushing for Rice and two touchdowns. The Owls finished with 371 total yards, including 256 on the ground.
Locksley, playing in his final game for the Miners, completed 8-of-12 passes for 100 yards and a TD, and rushed 12 times for 63 yards in a little less than two quarters of action.
The Owls had great field position to start their initial drive, as the Miners went three-and-out on their first series and Mitchell Crawford’s punt was returned to the UTEP 28-yard line. Three plays later, Rice had a 7-0 lead as Tom Stewart completed a three-yard TD pass to Austin Trammell.
Crawford was more successful on his second punt as it was downed at the Owl two-yard line. On third and nine, Stewart fumbled in the end zone and the ball was recovered by Praise Amaewhule for the Miners’ first defensive touchdown of 2019. The extra point was no good and the score was 7-6.
The Owls extended their lead to 14-6 on a 30-yard rushing TD by Walter late in the first quarter. The Miners pulled within one once again early in the second period when Locksley completed a 12-yard TD pass to Justin Garrett.
The Miners lost Locksley late in the second quarter, but not before he once again led UTEP deep into Owl territory. Gavin Hardison took over at quarterback, and the Miners finished off the drive with a 45-yard field goal by Gavin Baechle to take a 16-14 edge to the locker room.
The Owls went back on top, 17-16, on a 21-yard field goal by Chris Barnes with 7:16 left in the third quarter. And on their next drive, they moved 67 yards on six plays and finished it off with an eight-yard rushing TD by Johnson for a 24-16 lead.
The Miners’ best scoring chance in the second half ended on a 50-yard field goal attempt by Baechle that was wide left late in the third quarter.
Rice put the game away with 4:27 remaining on Johnson’s 11-yard rushing touchdown. Three plays earlier, Walter set up the score with his 64-yard run.
Hardison was 11-of-24 passing for 113 yards. As a team, the Miners gained 312 yards, including 117 in the second half.
Two Rice defenders posted double-digit tackles, as linebackers Blaze Alldredge and Antonio Montero were credited with 14 and 11 stops respectively. Alldredge was responsible for 3.5 of the Owls’ eight tackles for losses.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta & Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP women’s basketball team surged out to a 23-point lead at the half (38-15) en route to knocking off Western Michigan, 76-46, at the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic Friday afternoon.
“We played really well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “The first half set the tone. I thought our press really took them out of their game. The kids kind of just took over with tremendous chemistry. They played some quality basketball, and we beat a good basketball team.”
The Miners (5-1) shot 49.2 percent (30-61) from the floor and won the boards (47-32) to handle the Broncos (2-3). UTEP also got after it on defense by holding WMU to 28.1 percent (16-64) and forcing 18 turnovers to keep them 28 points below their scoring average (74.0) entering the game.
Arina Khlopkova (career-high 14 points), Katarina Zec (12 points) and Michelle Pruitt (10 points) all hit double figures in scoring to pace UTEP. Tia Bradshaw (career-best eight points) also had a career scoring day. Ariona Gill (10 rebounds) led the charge on the glass while Zec secured a season-high eight boards.
UTEP shared the ball well, with 20 assists on 30 field goals, with Katia Gallegos (five) and Avery Crouse (career-best four) leading the way in the department.
WMU took an early 4-3 lead before UTEP struck back with a 13-2 push to lead by 10 (16-6) with 3:23 to play in the first quarter. Included in the surge were eight straight points by Zec, which prompted a timeout from the Broncos. Gallegos also found Crouse for a transition triple. WMU used a free throw late to cut the Miners’ advantage to nine (16-7) before Bradshaw beat the buzzer with a pull-up jumper to put UTEP up 11 (18-7) through 10 minutes of action.
The Miners carried the momentum into the second quarter, unleashing a 12-2 run over the first seven minutes of the frame to extend their advantage to 21 (30-9). It was back-and-forth the rest of the frame, with the Miners heading into halftime armed with the aforementioned 23-point cushion.
UTEP continued to sizzle in the third quarter, using a 9-0 run midway through the frame to push the differential to 30 (54-24) with 4:34 to play in the period. WMU put together a bit of a rally, cutting the margin to 22 (56-34) after three quarters of play. The home side continued to control in the final frame, with the Broncos never getting closer than that the rest of the way.
The Miners will wrap up play at the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic against Georgia State at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Don Haskins Center. NM State will face Western Michigan at 5 p.m., in the first game of the day. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
UTEP will close out the 2019 campaign this Saturday at home as the Miners host Rice this Saturday, November 30 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso.
Prior to Saturday’s season finale against the visiting Rice Owls, the Miners will honor 22 seniors before kickoff at the Sun Bowl.
“These seniors have been rock solid for us, the whole group of them,” head coach Dana Dimel said. “They are really good individuals. They are all good students and are going to go out in the community and do a lot of positive things, especially the group who has been here for a while. The ones who have been here the last three years – I am really proud of them because they are a great, solid group of people, and that is important to have. It is going to be enjoyable trying to get them a win. We want to get them a win more than anything because they need to get that taste of winning as they leave the program.”
The Miners and Owls have previously met 22 times on the gridiron in a series that dates back to 1996. Rice leads the all-time series, 14-8, over UTEP. However, the Miners got the better of Rice most recently with a 34-26 win over the Owls last season in Houston.
In last season’s meeting between the Miners and Owls, UTEP burst out to a 27-0 lead in a dominating first-half performance, then held off resurgent Rice in the second half for a 34-26 win in Houston, its first victory since 2016.
The Miners (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) stamped out their 20-game losing streak, notched their first win under coach Dana Dimel and handed Rice (1-9, 0-6 C-USA) its ninth consecutive defeat.
It was UTEP’s first triumph at Rice Stadium since 2005, its initial year in Conference USA.
Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. MT this Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Sun Bowl. The game will be streamed on ESPN3 with Andy Morgan (play-by-play) and Trevor Vittatoe (analysis) calling all the action on Saturday afternoon.
Fans can also tune in to the radio broadcast on ESPN 600 El Paso to hear Jon Teicher (PxP), Bernie Ricono (analysis) and Mando Medina (sideline).
Through the first 11 games of the 2019 season, UTEP has proven to be one of the nation’s best teams when it comes to fourth down success. Entering the week, the Miners are ranked 7th nationally in fourth down conversion percentage (.739) after successfully converting 17 of 23 fourth-down attempts up to this point of the season. UTEP’s fourth down percentage is also ranked first among Conference USA teams.
Senior running back Treyvon Hughes currently leads the Miners in TDs with 12 rushing scores in 11 games, which ranks 2nd in C-USA and 17th nationally. Hughes scored his first two TDs of the season in the 2019 season opener versus Houston Baptist, while he followed that performance with another pair of scores in UTEP’s home game versus Nevada. Hughes has scored a touchdown in all but three games this season, including scoring in six of the last seven games.
Kicker Gavin Baechle enters Saturday’s game 12-of-14 on field goals and a perfect 21-of-21 on PATs, making him second on the team in scoring behind only Treyvon Hughes. Baechle’s 12 field goals makes him the first Miner kicker since 2015 to connect on at least nine field goals in a season. The last UTEP kicker to do so was Jay Mattox, who was 15-of-19 on field goals in 2015. Baechle is ranked second in C-USA and 16th nationally in field goal percentage (.857).
Defensively, UTEP’s leading tackler this season is senior safety Michael Lewis, who has 93 total tackles (51 solo) to go along with an interception, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Justin Rogers leads the Miners with three fumble recoveries this season, while he also had an interception versus LA Tech (10/26) to make it four straight years he has recorded an interception for the Miners. Rogers is ranked second on the team with 68 total tackles (46 solo).
The UTEP women’s basketball team (4-1) will play twice in as many days as part of the Eighth-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic Friday and Saturday at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners will square off with Western Michigan (2-2) at 3:30 p.m. Friday and against Georgia State (0-4) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. NM State will face both Georgia State (1 p.m., Friday) and Western Michigan (5 p.m., Saturday) in the other contests in classic.
“This year’s Thanksgiving Classic will be a great opportunity for our team to compete and improve. Western Michigan will bring in a very well-coached and talented team. They play a very fast, up-tempo style and like to shoot quickly each possession. They will try and speed up the game and push the ball to score,” UTEP Head Coach Kevin Baker shared. “They will also be difficult to keep off the boards. Their style of play is a little different than ours and we will need to play well to find success.”
Baker added, “Georgia State has a very athletic and fast team. Their team is athletic and scrappy and they can cause problems for you with their defensive energy. They are also great attackers off the dribble and will try to get to the rim. I consider them to be a very dangerous team.If they can get their perimeter shooting going then they can compete with anyone. We will need to do a great job defending them.”
With a win against Western Michigan Friday, the Miners can match their best start (5-1) of the Kevin Baker era. UTEP got out of the gates at 5-1 in 2017-18, Baker’s first year on the sidelines.
If UTEP can emerge victorious in each of its games at the Thanksgiving Classic, it will secure the best start to a season since 2015-16 (8-0).
Western Michigan is 2-2 on year, including being edged, 80-79, by Florida Atlantic (11/24/19). After being held to 55 points at Michigan (11/9), the Broncos have scored at least 79 points in three straight games.
The effort has led to WMU putting up 74.0 ppg, with four of the five starters in double figures for scoring. They are in the form of Breanna Mobley (14.5 ppg), Jordan Walker (12.5 ppg), Kamrin Reed (12.3 ppg) and Leighah-Amori Wool (11.3 ppg). WMU enjoyed four straight winning seasons before slipping to 10-20 last year. It returned three starters and seven letter winners from that squad.
Georgia State enters this weekend at 0-4 on the season, with three off the four losses by double digits. It is 0-3 at home and 0-1 on the road. Taylor Henderson (15.0 ppg) and Taylor Hosendove (10.0 ppg) pace the attack. Shaquanda Miller-McCray has controlled the boards (10.8 rpg). The squad has been hindered by shooting 29.2 percent (68-233) and a -15.2 rebounding margin (30.3-45.5).
GSU returned its top two scorers from last season in redshirt junior Jada Lewis (13.6 ppg) and redshirt senior Allison Johnson (11.7 ppg). Lewis was second-team All-Sun Belt last year while Johnson was named to the third team and was the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year. Their efforts helped the Panthers forge a mark of 17-14.
They advanced to the WBI, the program’s first postseason appearance since 2003.
UTEP won the only prior meeting with Western Michigan, 70-44, in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Jan. 3, 1993. The Miners have never squared off with Georgia State.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kid, with one ticket gaining admission for both games of the day. They may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234. The contests will be the fourth and fifth of seven straight at home (2-1 in stretch) for UTEP.
The game will be streamed on CUSA.TV (subscription based).
Bryson Williams scored a career-high 33 points, including the first nine points of the game, and UTEP pulled away in the second half to a 91-71 victory over East Central to remain among the ranks of the unbeaten at 5-0.
“The game tonight was an opportunity for us to try to get better against an older team, a team that we knew coming in had a really good record (4-1) and those guys can shoot the basketball,” UTEP coach Rodney Terry said. “But more importantly, it was about us trying to get better in areas we’re still trying to improve.”
Williams made 15-of-17 shots and 3-of-4 free throws in surpassing his previous personal best of 30 points, scored against Cal State Monterey Bay when he was a sophomore (2017-18 season) at Fresno State. He added 11 rebounds for his first double-double as a UTEP Miner and blocked two shots.
The 33 points are the most by a UTEP player since Dominic Artis also tallied 33 points versus Marshall in the Haskins Center on Feb. 4, 2016.
“My teammates really looked for me in this game and we just took care of business,” Williams said. “I’m glad we were able to finish out the win.”
“Bryson is a really good player,” Terry said. “He played the last game [against New Mexico] under the weather and really battled through that game. He has had a couple of really good practices and I thought that carried over to tonight’s game. He’s one of those guys that’s going to be on everybody’s scouting report in terms of a target. But he’s a very unselfish player. He’ll move the basketball when not given an opportunity to score. He just wants to win. He’s one of those kids that’s going to work extremely hard and try to do all the things that you ask him to do.”
The first half, and the early portion of the second half, was filled with ebbs and flows. The Miners scored the game’s first nine points, and the lead reached double digits (15-5) on a three-pointer by Anthony Tarke with 12:49 on the clock.
Williams and Tarke combined to score 18 of UTEP’s first 21 points, with Williams single-handedly outscoring the Tigers 9-0 in the opening two and a half minutes.
East Central used an 11-2 run to get within a point (19-18) on a tip-in by Josh Apple with 7:52 remaining in the half. The Miners were up two (23-21) before embarking on a 13-0 spurt to take their biggest lead of the half, 36-21, on a jumper by Tydus Verhoeven with 2:55 to go.
But the Tigers ended the half with nine consecutive points to draw within six (36-30) at the break.
The Miners scored the first eight points of the second half to build the lead to 14 points (44-30) but couldn’t shake the Tigers, who drew within five (47-42) on two free throws by Camron Talley with 14:32 to play.
After that, however, it was all Miners, as they scored 15 of the next 17 points to blow out to an 18-point advantage (62-44), and they weren’t seriously threatened the rest of the night.
“I thought in the first half, we didn’t come out with the right approach and the right kind of attitude that we needed for this ballgame as far as trying to improve and get better,” Terry said. “I thought we did a much better job in the second half in terms of the mindset we needed to come out with, how hard we needed to compete, and what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to close out November the right way in terms of really trying to have an identity that we know every day we can hang our hat on, that we’re going to guard hard and play as hard as we can on that end of the floor.”
Nigel Hawkins chipped in with 12 points and Daryl Edwards added 11 for the Miners. Hawkins had a stellar stat line with eight assists, no turnovers and six steals in 26 minutes off the bench. The six steals are tied for the third-top total in school history.
“He came in and gave us great energy. I thought he came in and played with the kind of urgency that we’re talking about,” Terry said. “We still have a relatively young team in terms of the maturity piece. We harped on it and we talked about it the last couple of days, that every night and every day you practice, you’ve got to play with urgency. I thought he came out and played with tremendous urgency and gave our team a really good lift with his energy.”
Heralded TCU transfer Kaden Archie made his UTEP debut, playing 24 minutes and contributing seven points, an assist and a steal.
Talley, the no. 2 scorer in Division II at 25.4 points per game coming in, scored 15 points for East Central. Matt Garriga led the Tigers with 16 points. The game was marked as an exhibition for East Central.
The Miners had commanding advantages in points in the paint (56-28) and points off turnovers (37-11) while receiving 43 points from their reserves.
UTEP will play at NM State on Tuesday (Dec. 3) as the Battle of I-10 continues. The Miners, who downed the Aggies in El Paso on Nov. 12 (65-50), are seeking their first win in Las Cruces and first sweep of NMSU since the 2010-11 season.
The Miners are off to their best start in four years, but Terry said there’s still plenty of work ahead.
“We have a very high standard and very high expectations for our team,” Terry said. “Especially in the first part of the year, it’s about us improving every single day, whether it’s with transition defense, shooting defense, or taking care of the basketball. We want to continue to try to get better. We’re so far away from being as good as I think we can be, and where we want to go, and what we want to do this season. We’ve got to continue to work every day and hold each other accountable to want to be better and want to play hard and do the things that we practice.”
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – & Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post