• November 30, 2020
 UTEP to open Diamond Head Classic against host Hawai’i Sunday Night

UTEP to open Diamond Head Classic against host Hawai’i Sunday Night

HONOLULU, Hawai’i – UTEP is seeking its first road win in over a year. The Miners (8-2) will compete in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic against host and former Western Athletic Conference rival Hawai’i (7-3) on Sunday, December 22 in the Stan Sheriff Center.

The Miners and Rainbow Warriors will tipoff at 6:30 p.m. Hawaii Time/9:30 p.m. MT.

The Miners recently fell at Houston, 77-57, on Dec. 19. Bryson Williams led the way with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Souley Boum scored 13 points. Nigel Hawkins, a Houston product, chipped in with nine points and paced the squad with five assists. Fellow Houston native Efe Odigie scored four points and also pulled down seven boards.

UTEP last competed at the Diamond Head Classic in 2011 when it chalked up a 2-1 record. The Miners opened with a 61-48 victory over ACC’s Clemson on Dec. 22. UTEP followed with a loss to Kansas State, 78-70, the next day, but rebounded to defeat former UTEP coach Tony Barbee’s Auburn squad, 83-76, on Christmas day.

Michael Perez was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 17.7 points per game, including a 25-point performance versus Clemson, and dishing out seven assists overall. During the Miners’ victory against Auburn, John Bohannon led the way with 20 points and nine boards, while Perez added 18 points.

Hawai’i has won four of its last five contests and is coming off a 94-73 victory over Samford in the Stan Sheriff Center on Dec. 15. Eddie Stansberry led the way with 23 points. Zigmars Raimo led the Rainbow Warriors with 11 rebounds, while Justin Webster came off the bench to score 15 points.

Hawai’i’s lone loss during the five-game stretch came against Oregon on Dec. 7 by the score of 89-64. Hawai’i defeated New Orleans, 79-71, on Nov. 24, San Francisco, 85-75, on Nov. 29 and Hawaii Pacific, 58-41, on Dec. 1 – all in the Stan Sheriff Center.

Stansberry leads UH and ranks second in the Big West at 19.7 points per game and has connected on 42.7 percent (38-89) of his three pointers, which leads the Big West. His 3.8 three pointers per game leads the conference and ranks fourth nationally.

Samuta Avea ranks second in points per game (11.1) and Drew Buggs third (10.9). Raimo leads the team in rebounds per game (7.2) and averages 9.3 points per contest.

UTEP leads the all-time series 35-17. UTEP and Hawai’i last played on March 10, 2005 in the WAC Tournament in Reno, Nev. The Miners won the contest, 80-62, on their way to the NCAA Tournament.

The two programs last met in Honolulu on Feb. 21, 2005 when the Miners defeated the Warriors, 71-67. The Miner have won four straight meetings. The Rainbow Warriors last defeated UTEP on Jan. 2, 2004, by the score of 85-63 in Honolulu.

UTEP and Hawai’i first met on Jan. 19, 1980 in El Paso, while the Miners played their first game on The Island on Feb. 14, 1980.

“The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher will call the action on 600 ESPN El Paso, while the game will be televised on ESPN2 with Roxy Bernstein calling play-by-play and Cory Alexander providing color analysis.

Staff Report

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