Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez | El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP Miners Men’s Basketball Team (2-1, 0-0) obtained their second victory of the season Tuesday night, defeating the Northern New Mexico College Eagles 88 to 53.
The Miners second win of the season was also their second at the Don Haskins Center in a contest that the Miners began to dominate in the early stages of the first half.
The Miners did what they needed to do for 40 minutes to show an unquestionable dominance on the court over the course of the entire game. This was the first ever meeting between these two schools.
This win gives the confidence needed to continue their grueling start to the regular season in which the Miners will play six games in the span of 15 days. It also puts UTEP back on the winning track after suffering their first loss of the season this past Saturday at New Mexico State.
Here’s what happened
- UTEP head coach Joe Golding used 12 players in his rotation to pounce on the Eagles and take a comfortable 51-26 lead into the dressing room at halftime. The Miners sizzled with a 48.6 shooting percentage from the field including going 5-15 from three-point range (33.3%).
- The second half saw the UTEP do more of the same to the Eagles, extending their lead by as many as ##. The frequency of the rotation of players used by Golding in the second half decreased as some of the more experienced players for the MIners saw less minutes as the game progressed and came to its end.
- Despite the wide margin of victory, the Miners kept their intensity for the duration of the game as their head coach kept pushing them to meet their objectives set for the game. The Miners won the rebounding and turnover battle which is something they have been working on and will no doubt make the coaching staff happy.
What was said
After the game, Jamal Bieniemy and Tydus Verhoeven spoke with the media. Bieniemy led the Miners tonight with 15 points while Verhoeven led the team in defensive rebounds with four.
With regards to the Miners rebounding effort, Verhoeven said, “That was a big emphasis for this team moving forward, especially being out-rebounded in the first two games. That’s never a good look, we definitely wanted to win the rebounding battle today.”
As for getting back on the winning track, Verhoeven added, “It’s big, you have a short memory in a long season. You’re gonna lose games at times, but you never go into a game with that mindset. This was a big game for us to bounce back, especially winning the way we did and not get distracted just go out there and win the game.”
Looking forward to their next game (at Pacific) Bieniemy said, “It’s definitely a business trip for us going down there, we want to get a road win, it’s gonna be a big game for us. A nice early test for us, we’re excited.”
The UTEP head coach echoed the same sentiments as his players in his postgame comments. Golding said his team met the objectives that were set within the game. These included rebounding, turnovers, improving on their free throws along with their ball movement.
Golding elaborated by saying, “We wanted to turn them over 25 time and we did, so we got the objective there. Obviously we wanted to win the glass and we out rebounded them 41 to 23 with 17 offensive rebounds.”
As for what’s next Golding said (the game at Pacific), “It’s the first time we’re gonna travel. The first time we get on a plane for a real game. The first time we get on a plane and go practice. It’ll be the first time we do a shootaround on the road, so there’s a lot of firsts. We got to make sure we’re prepared and they know what’s coming. We’re excited for the challenge.
Up next for UTEP
The Miners will now shift their focus to their next rival. The Miners will travel west to Stockton, California to face the Pacific Tigers. The Tigers going into tonight were 1-2 on the season with their only win being against Hawaii-Hilo.
The game is scheduled to kickoff at 8 p.m. MST and will be broadcast via radio only on 600AM ESPN El Paso.
Author: Joe Rodriguez | Photos by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post
Rodriguez is a life long El Pasoan. Joe has covered sports locally across the Borderland since 2007 for various media outlet both in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez as a personal passion as he is a professional in the world of healthcare (Physiatry). His favorite sports include soccer, auto racing, golf and horse racing.”