Basketball season has finally arrived in El Paso. The lights were flipped on for the first time in the Don Haskins Center in the 2013-14 regular season, as UTEP gave its home crowd a an impressive 84-49 win over NAIA member Loyola (N.O.)
The Miners used their signature tough defense to hold Loyola to only 12 percent shooting in the games first ten minutes, as the Miners would struggle to get going early on offense missing a number of good looks at the rim.
McKenzie Moore would spark the offense off the bench scoring 8 points in the first half and starting a 7-0 run that gave UTEP a ten point with five minutes left.
C.J. Cooper would extend the margin that would stand the rest of the game, with a huge three point jumper that would give the Miners a 35-21 lead to end the first half.
Julian Washburn had an aggressive 11 points in the first half including a three pointer, and an efficient 5/10 shooting from the field, he would finish with 15 points in only 27 total minutes.
The tough defense continued in the second half as UTEP used a 15-4 run out of the halftime break to grab a 50-25 lead after another Cooper three ball.
The Miners also held Loyola to 18.2 percent shooting from the field in the second half.
Then Matt Wilms took the game over. After only scoring two points in the first half, Wilms scored 18 points in the last 10 mintues of the game to put the Wolfpack away.
His scoring onslaught would begin with an alley-oop pass from Justin Crosgile that he threw down with authority, and would continue with a three point play to give the Miners a 29-point lead with a little under seven minutes to go.
Wilms finished with a game high 20 points, and also was 4/4 from the free throw line down the stretch of the game, giving the Miners a big man who brings energy, has all the overall skill, and can knock down free throws.
McKenzie Moore filled the stat sheet as usual, going for 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. John Bohannon also had a solid night scoring 16 points, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists.
Loyola would try to attack the rim in the second half as they went to the line 26 times, though the Miners tough defense was not affected by the new NCAA rule changes.
Kyle Simmons and Jalen Gray both had 12 points each to lead the Wolfpack.
Vince Hunter was active on the glass with 7 rebounds, Justin Crosgile also had a solid game, knocking down two three pointers, to along with 5 assists with only one turnover.
The Miners will now prepare for next Friday's Battle of I-10 match-up with New Mexico State in Las Cruces.
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