The UTEP Miners used their size, and length to overpower Sacramento State 69-51 Saturday night in the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners owned the boards throughout the game, as the Hornets struggled from the field shooting 32.0 percent in the first half.
That cold shooting would lead the Miners to dominate the boards in the first half 24-11, lead by Julian Washburn who had 10 rebounds in the game, and 7 at halftime.
Coach Tim Floyd:
We played a team not as talented as the teams we played out on the island. Garrity is a good player, the other kid McKinney, we were trying to deny him all night long and he still had 17 attempts, so we have room to grow in that area. We rebounded the ball well, we got to the line well, were still struggling making free throws obviously. All of our big guys across the board played well.
The Miners started off sluggish on offense, turning the ball over 7 times in the first frame, but would use a 14-0 run late in the first half to race out to a 34-21 lead going into the break, lead by Matt Wilms who had 8 points in the first 20 minutes.
McKenzie Moore would lead the Miners push in the second half, but it was C.J. Cooper who nailed a three to give the Miners a 49-29 lead with 11:26 left that seemingly put the Hornets away.
Mikh McKinney finished with a game high 22 points for the Hornets who were without their leading scorer Dylan Garrity who left the game early with an ankle injury.
The Miners size advantage played a huge rule in owning the boards, John Bohannon added 9 rebounds to go along with 13 points and 3 assists.
Matt Wilms finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds, Cedrick Lang added 5 rebounds and 6 points against a Hornet roster with only one player listed at 6'10. The Miners would out rebound Sacramento State 45-30 for the ballgame.
Tim Floyd started Vince Hunter at small forward to help with rebounding and some aggressiveness from the perimeter. Hunter responded with 9 points, and 4 rebounds, though missed 5 out of 13 chances from the line, he provided penetration from the wing, and opened up Washburn and others for rebounding opportunities.
The Miners turned up the defense to another level in the second half, limiting the Hornets to 26.5 percent shooting from the field, and 28.8 percent for the game.
Sacramento State also had 29 fouls compared to 17 field goals for the game, as the Miners went 30-45 from the free throw line, as they attacked the basket all night against the smaller Hornets.
The Miners will now have nine days off before their next game against New Orleans and will turn their focus to finals to end the semester.
Floyd On McKenzie Moore:
We are going to be playing without McKenzie Moore in our next ball game. I didn't like his actions tonight on the floor as we pulled him out of the game. I think that he needs to learn to handle handle the little bit of success he has had, needs to learn how to defer at times and be a better teammate.
McKenzie Moore will not play the next game as Tim Floyd will sit him for discipline reasons.
Jalen Ragland did also not play due to either an injury or illness that was not disclosed, his status is un-certain.
The Miners improve to 5-4 on the young season, and will face Tim Floyd's old team the New Orleans Privateers, Monday December 16th, at 7:05 PM in the Don Haskins Center.