UTEP Basketball Gameday Thread

Anthony Salom-MinerRush

Another hoop filled Saturday off Glory Road as the UTEP women and men's basketball team welcome some Conference USA foes.

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Today in El Paso, Conference USA takes over the Don Haskins Center with a double header of men's and women's hoops.

In the first game of action, Keitha Adams bunch goes up against the 7-5 Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

The Golden Hurricane lost to Kansas by four, and also lost to Texas Southern 88-80, a team the Miners pounded 87-61 on December 29th.

Tulsa opened conference play last Wednesday, dismantling a talented UTSA team 73-62.

Ashley Clark is Tulsa's leading scorer at 14.1 points a game, and is a real nice talent.

They bring a balanced attack with 9 different players scoring in double figures in their 12 games this season.

UTEP is coming off a 85-75 win against UAB in its conference lid lifter.

The Miners senior duo of Kelli Willingham, and El Pasoan Kayla Thornton lead the charge against the Blazers, as the Miners improved to 12-2, while also coming alive from the 3-point line.

Willingham is coming off a broken hand sustained earlier in the season, and is the Miners quarterback, serving as Adams' on floor coach.

Thornton is making a serious case for All-American honors, the former Irvin Rocket became the schools leading rebounder against UAB, she has bumped her scoring average to 19.1, while owning 9 boards a game.

This will start a tough stretch of games for the Miners, as they will have to travel next week to Middle Tennessee who is challenging UTEP for league supremacy.

In the night cap, Tim Floyd and his Miners will face Kareem Canty and the Marshall Thundering Herd.

Marshall continues its Texas two-step, it started Thursday with a loss to UTSA 90-81 in the opening night of league play.

After a 4-2 start, the Herd have dropped 8 out of their last 10 and sit at 6-10 overall.

Marshall is without leading scorer Elijah Pittman who was on a tear to start the season, but was suspended before they faced West Virginia back on Dec 7th.

Canty has picked up the slack and is a 20 point scoring threat every time out.

His average is at 17 points per, and dishes out 6 dimes a game as well.

Ryan Taylor was named C-USA freshman of the week, and is averaging a solid 13.2 points and 7 rebounds a contest for Marshall.

UTEP came up short on the scoreboard, and from deep in Thursday's loss against the Charlotte 49ers.

Julian Washburn and John Bohannon carried the scoring load in the loss, combined for 43 of UTEP's 68 points.

C.J. Cooper was ice cold from behind the arc, I believe the possible remedy to that is a lineup combo.

Victor Mbachu showed great poise in eight minutes of action, he took care of the basketball, and opened up things for two nice assist on drives for dunks, without a single turnover in his first big time minutes of his Miner career.

Cooper was at his best last year when he was on the floor with point guard Jacques Streeter, its tough to put both Vic and C.J. out there since their the only ball handlers right now, though I think that is something we might see.

Tim Floyd certianly has his hands full, though who else would you rather have guiding the ship right now.

Floyd will do a masterful job with the X's and O's, and with the heart shown by this team not only on Thursday, but through the five game winning streak, don't count the Miners out.

Its only January but tonight is a must win for the Miners.

With a tough road swing next week to Middle Tennessee and UAB who both are top four contenders, the goal should be to finish January and no worse then 4-2 to keep up with the top tier.

Make sure to stay tuned to MinerRush for more information on all things UTEP sports, and make sure to Follow @sbnminerrush on Twitter for live updates throughout the game from the Haskins Center.

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