The UTEP Miners (7-7) square off against the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4) in first Conference USA game of the season for both teams. The game is set to tip at 6:00 p.m. MT at the Cam Henderson Center in Huntington, West Virginia, and will be carried live nationally by CBS College Sports Network.
The Miners lead the overall series with the Herd 7-1, including a 3-0 mark at the Cam Henderson Center. All three of those wins have come by 4 points or less. The two teams last met in the quarterfinals of last year's Conference USA tournament, a game in which the Miners led by 23 before winning by a final of 77-65.
The Thundering Herd enter the contest at 9-4 overall, but are coming off back to back losses to Belmont and Akron. Only two players average in double figures for the Herd, but it is a very well rounded attack with 5 others averaging better than 6 points a game. Sophomore G DeAndre Kane leads the way averaging 16.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists a game. Senior G Damier Pitts is also having a solid season going for 14.5 points and 5 assists a contest.
The Miners, who are now 7-7 on the season, are led by senior F Gabriel McCulley who is averaging 11.8 points and 5 rebounds, and sophomore G Mike Perez who is also putting up 12 points a game. Freshman G/F Julian Washburn (9.9 ppg) is also having an excellent season, and both sophomore C John Bohannon (8.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and freshman F Cedrick Lang (8 ppg, 5 rpg) are truly becoming forces to be reckoned with in the paint.
Although the Miners have held a clear advantage in the series against Marshall, this contest will be much different. While they are talented enough to hang with and beat anyone in C-USA, the Herd are clearly the more experienced and refined team. Tonight will be a tough battle out in Huntington, both for the Miners and the Thundering Herd. I expect a close game, and all we can ask for is that our guys give us a chance to win. Go Miners!!