The UTEP Miners (10-9, 3-2) head to the Big Easy today for a matchup with the Tulane Green Wave (12-6, 0-4) at 6:00 p.m. MT at Fogelman Arena. The game is the first of a three game road swing for the Miners that also includes games at Houston and at Rice on January 28th and February 1st.
The Miners own a 6-2 all time mark against the Green Wave, but they are only 1-2 in Fogelman. These two teams last met on January 26, 2011. In that game, John Bohannon and Gabriel McCulley combined for 17 of the Miner's 34 second half points, as the Miners knocked off the Wave 69-65 in El Paso.
Tulane is led by junior G/F Kendall Timmons (13.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg), and 7-0' junior C Tomas Bruha (7.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg). However, both are out of today's game with injuries. Timmons, the team's leader is possibly out for the season.
The Wave still do have some solid scoring options, even without Timmons and and Bruha in the lineup. Freshman G Ricky Turrant averages 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game, junior G Jordan Callahan averages 11.4 points, and 3.2 rebounds, and sophomore F Josh Davis is averaging a solid 10.7 points and 9.3 rebounds an outing,
The Miners come into the contest at 10-9 overall, and 3-2 in conference, but most importantly they are above .500 for the first time this season. They will look to continue to improve that record today, and get their second 3 game win streak this season. The Miners are coming off solid home wins against SMU (OT) and ECU.
UTEP is led by senior F Gabe McCulley, who is averaging 12.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 2 apg. Sophomore G Michael Perez, who has been fairly quiet as of late, still checks in at 12 points a contest, and freshman G/F Julian Washburn is averaging 10.3 points and 3 rebounds per game.
Perhaps the biggest player as of late, literally and figuratively, has been sophomore C John Bohannon. Bohannon is averaging 9.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, but has had some monster performances including Wednesday night's 17 point 14 rebound effort. Freshman F Cedrick Lang (7.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg), and junior G Jacques Streeter (7.1 ppg, 4.6 apg) are also crucial pieces to this Miner puzzle and certainly deserve mention.
Today's game will be a battle between a road team that is fighting to continue in the right direction and a home team that is desperate to get one up in the C-USA win column. While the losses of Timmons and Bruha greatly improve UTEP's chances, this game will be anything but easy. However, if the Miners come to play, they should be able to pull this one out.
UTEP is very young, but they are extremely athletic. Thus far their major setbacks have come against teams that are much bigger than them, and without their center, Tulane just isn't one of those teams. Also without star swingman Kendall Timmons, not only will the Wave have to find production from somewhere else, but it will allow star defenders like Julian Washburn to put their focus elsewhere.
There will be no TV broadcasts of tonight's game, but you can catch all the action live on the UTEP Athletics website (www.utepathletics.com) so make sure to tune in. Go Miners!!