The Miners (9-6) emerge victorious against Houston Baptist (4-13) tonight at the Don Haskins Center. While the stat sheet said 6,608 fans, it looked and felt like a lot less. This was one of those games that the Miners knew they could win from the begging but seemed to struggle early on in the first half.
Houston Baptist had not won a road game coming into tonight. With that being said, we can see that this team is very disciplined by their head coach and will eventually become a good program. The Huskies never let the Miners score more than ten points in the first half and continued to try to match what UTEP did on the offensive side of the ball. The Miners did not get in the shooting rhythm until the second half nor did they finish the simple plays they should have.
The Huskies were led by Caleb Crayton's 14 points and 6 boards. The only other player to score in double figures for Houston Baptist was Art Bernardi who had 10 points along with 6 rebounds. All of Bernardi's points came in the second half after being held scoreless. No other Huskies player scored more than 7 points.
The Miners played very good defense only allowing Houston Baptist to shoot 31.7 % on the night. The Miners also held the Huskies to just 2-12 shooting from three point land (16.7%). The Miners took the lead early and didn't let go even though HBU stuck around for most of the game.
The Miners were led by Konner Tucker's 12 points. Both Cedrick Lang and Julian Washburn added 11 points apiece to go with 7 (Lang) and 6 (Washburn) rebounds respectively. Both C.J. Cooper and John Bohannon came off the bench to score 9 points apiece. Bohannon also pulled down 7 boards while C.J. dished out two assists.
McKenzie Moore is starting to prove to us that he is a beast on the court. Throughout the entire game McKenzie was all around the floor pulling down 8 rebounds to go along with 8 points, 3 blocks, 1 steal and 1 assist. The Miners got to see almost all of the bench players tonight. Hooper Vint came in and played 10 minutes for the Miners. During his time on the floor he scored 6 points, which two of those were a thundering dunk. Twymond Howard struggled a tonight scoring only 1 point, but he did pull down 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
The Miners next game will be a big one as they fly out to Tulsa, Oklahoma to play the University of Tulsa on Wednesday January 16th. This will be the second CUSA road game for the Miners. UTEP must start and finish the game strong if they expect to come back to El Paso with the win. After their showdown in Oklahoma, the Miners return on Saturday January 19th vs. SMU. If UTEP can win both games they will start 4-0 in Conference play and be a serious threat for all other CUSA teams.
Final Team Statistics:
FGM-A: 19-60 (31.7 %) OREB: 11 AST: 8 TO: 12
3PM-A: 2-12 (16.7%) DREB: 21 STL: 8 PF: 20
FTM-A: 4-11 (36.4 %) ToREB: 32 BLK: 4
FGM-A: 24-54 (44.4 %) OREB: 11 AST: 16 TO: 11
3PM-A: 6-16 (37.5 %) DREB: 29 STL: 5 PF: 13
FTM-A: 18-25 (72.0 %) ToREB: 30 BLK: 7
Miner Rush Player of the Game: Sophomore guard # 13 McKenzie Moore
Guys let's be honest here, since McKenzie has been in the starting lineup, the Miners have gotten way better. McKenzie is so versatile he could play any position if he wanted. At 6'6, he can back down defenders and post up and run the court. He is not shy when it comes to passing the ball either. If there is a rebound he sniffs it out and chases it no matter where it is. McKenzie is the kind of guy every team wants since he can do almost everything.