BOCA RATON – UTEP will take on Florida Atlantic in its second Conference USA contest on Saturday, January 4.
“The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher will call the action on 600 ESPN El Paso, while the Miners and Owls will be streamed on ESPN+. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. MT at RoofClaim.com Arena.
The Miners (9-5, 0-1 C-USA) are still seeking out their first road victory in over a year after coming up short at FIU (69-67) on Jan. 2 in Miami. UTEP’s last road win came on March 3, 2018 at North Texas.
The Owls (9-5, 1-0 C-USA) shut down the nation’s leading scorer Jhivvan Jackson to eight points, while coming up with a 79-64 home victory against UTSA on Thursday evening. FAU improved to 8-1 at home.
UTEP leads the all-time series 5-3 and holds a 3-0 record against Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton. The Miners and Owls last met in the Sunshine State on Feb. 23, 2017, with UTEP winning 60-55.
The two programs first met on Jan. 21, 2016 in El Paso. In last season’s lone meeting, the Owls defeated the Miners, 61-48, on Feb. 7 in El Paso.
Daryl Edwards is coming off his best performance as a Miner as the graduate transfer scored a season-high 20 points on a season-best four three-pointers against FIU on Thursday afternoon.
Edwards’s 15-second half points weren’t enough as the Miners’ rally came up short. UTEP found itself down 36-26 at the half as turnovers (13) and the Panthers’ elite three-point shooting (7-13) set the Miners back. But UTEP adjusted and opened the second half with an 18-8 run that tied the score at 44.
The Miners finally took their first lead at 60-59 after a pair of Nigel Hawkins’s free throws at the 6:16 mark. Edwards followed with a three-point shot that put his squad up three points (63-60) at the 5:19 mark. But FIU outscored UTEP 9-4 down the stretch.
Even though FIU went 1-of-4 from the line with under 20 seconds remaining, the Miners couldn’t capitalize on those misses as a pair of late turnovers halted the rally.
Bryson Williams added 12 points and led the team with nine rebounds, while Deon Stroud played the first half, scoring 10 points and pulling down four boards (all offensive).
Hawkins made his first start of the season at the point guard position, scoring nine points (all in the second half) and adding four assists with four rebounds. Anthony Tarke also broke into the starting five, leading with two steals and pulling down eight rebounds.
UTEP registered a season-high 14 offensive rebounds, while its 16 assists were the most versus a league opponent since Jan. 6, 2018 (17 at LA Tech).
Jailyn Ingram led FAU with 15 points and Michael Forrest came off the bench, chipping in with 13 points during the Owls’ victory over the Roadrunners. Second-year head coach Dusty May’s lineup produced eight players scoring six or more points, while four were in double figures. FAU’s bench tallied 34 points.
Cornelius Taylor paces the squad in points per game (10.8) and assists (27), while Forrest (10.5 ppg) ranks second. The Owls average 37.7 rebounds per game as Madiaw Niang leads the team at 5.0 per game.
Nine players average 2.0 rebounds per game or more, while five of those players average at least over 3.1 boards per contest. FAU averages 11.6 offensive rebounds per game, ranking second in C-USA and 85 nationally. Its plus-4.7 rebounding margin ranks second in the league and 74 nationally.
FAU averages 72.6 points per game and gives up 66.1 points per contest. The Owls are 5-1 in their last six contests after Thursday’s victory.