“They really guarded us well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “They do a really good job. I don’t think anybody the rest of the year is going to hold them to 59 points…” | Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
UTEP held New Mexico to 59 points-30 below its average- but couldn’t get enough shots to fall in a 59-35 setback at the Don Haskins Center Thursday evening.
The undefeated Lobos (8-0), who are receiving votes for both top-25 polls, were limited to 39.7 percent (23-58) from the floor and 33.0 percent (12-36) from distance but they overcame through a physical defensive effort that gave the Miners (4-1) fits.
UTEP shot 25.0 percent (11-44) in the game while being harassed into 25 turnovers that led to 22 UNM points. The Miners won the battle of the boards, 44-31, but it wasn’t enough to compensate for the off shooting night.
Senior Tamara Seda recorded her third straight double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds) to pace UTEP while sophomore Katarina Zec added nine points. Sophomore Zuzanna Puc came off the bench to contribute five points and a season-high eight rebounds. Sophomore Roeshonda Patterson also pitched in five points and sophomore Faith Cook registered a career-high seven boards.
Tesha Buck tallied 19 points, aided by going 5-12 from distance, to lead the way for the visitors. Cherise Beynon joined her in double figures with 11 points.
“They really guarded us well,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “They do a really good job. I don’t think anybody the rest of the year is going to hold them to 59 points. We did everything we wanted to do defensively to them. I’m proud of our kids. The better team won tonight.”
The two teams traded scores over the first eight-plus minutes of the contest, and UTEP was down by just two (13-11) after Seda scored in the post. The Lobos found another gear, though, wrapping a 16-2 run around the quarter break to vault out to a 29-13 advantage with 8:46 left in the first half. UNM hit a trio of triples during the sequence.
The Miners made some defensive adjustments, which allowed them to hold UNM to just five points over the remainder of the stanza. The effort let the Orange and Blue to trim the deficit to 10 (32-22) with 2:08 left in the quarter before a late UNM basket made it 34-22 at the half.
UTEP’s aspirations of a comeback took a hit at the onset of the third quarter, with the Lobos scoring the first seven points of the period to secure a 19-point advantage (41-22, 6:20 3Q). Neither team could get much going offensively the rest of the period, and UNM carried a 20-point lead (46-26) to the fourth quarter.
The Orange and Blue continued to battle down the stretch, but there was simply too much ground to make up.
The Miners will put this contest in the rear view mirror and now prepare to play host to HBU at 1 p.m. MST Saturday. The contest if the final one in the season-opening six-game homestand, and tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids.
Photos by Andres Acosta, Chief Photographer El Paso Herald-Post