The outcome of the game was decided early on as the Miners jumped to a commanding 33-8 lead in the first 10 minutes of the ball game. The first half was simply an exhibition of the Miner's suffocating defense that we have seen over and over this season. The Miners didn't give the Golden Lions clean shots or passing lanes in those first 20 minutes, and it translated into a 48-21 halftime lead. The second half got a little sloppy with careless turnovers, but the Miners handled their business at put this one in the books with a 77-54 final.
Jeremy Williams led the way for the Miners with 15 points and 6 rebounds. Christian Polk knocked down some big threes on his way to a 14 point night, and freshman John Bohannon looked like anything but a freshman with his 12 points and 12 rebounds. He definitely continues to improve on a daily basis. Claude Britten chipped in 9 points, as did Randy Culpepper on a slow 2-10 shooting night. Julyan Stone who finished with 6 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds moved past Tim Hardaway as UTEP's all time leading assist man. The Miners outrebounded the Lions 40-34, and had 22 more assists than Pine Bluff.
The one bad note was the 22 turnovers the Miners had, many of which came in the final 20 minutes. Although its hard not to be happy with a 23 point win, Tim Floyd was a little upset with his teams efforts in the second half. "Playing with the lead, we just didn't have the same sense of urgency, we were just not playing as hard". The Miners will definitely need to learn how to stay aggressive even with a lead, as the teams we face ahead will capitalize on the mistakes that the Golden Lions couldn't take advantage of.
Overall, it was a good performance by the Miners that needed just a little fine tuning. There's no doubt the score could've been 97-54, and although the purpose of the game isn't to embarrass your opponent, you still need to have your head in the game for 40 minutes not 20. Up next for the Miners is a 7:05 tip Wednesday with the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Monroe comes into the game with a record of 3-7 with wins over Southeastern Oklahoma St, Jacksonville St, and Centenary. The Warhawks are averaging only 59 points a game, while shooting a cold 38% from the field. They are led by Junior guard Fred Brown who comes in averaging 15 points 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Tickets are still available so come out and be loud.