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Southern Miss. at UTEP Preview/Open Thread

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As we try to pick up the pieces from Thursday's......second half short comings, there is another UTEP basketball game Saturday night in the Don against a familiar face.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

UTEP Miners

Current Record: 10-5, 2-1 C-USA

Projected Starters:

C.J. Cooper, Sr, G, 6.9 ppg, 3.6 apg

Omega Harris, Fr, G, 6.6 ppg, .405 3PT%

Julian Washburn, Sr, G, 9.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg

Vince Hunter, So, F, 16.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg

Cedrick Lang, Sr, F, 10. ppg, 6.0 rpg

Team Stats

Points Per Game 69.3
Opponents 63.6
FG% .468
Opponents% .414
3-point% .364
Opponents% .364
Free Throw% .654
Rebounds Per Game 35.7
Rebounding Margin +2.7
Assists Per Game 14.7
Steals Per Game

5.1

Bottom line, the Miners were out prepped, and out schemed before the LA Tech game even tipped off. UTEP assistant coach Phil Johnson said on his post game interview the Miners worked on fast break 2 on 1 chances, and things LA Tech had struggled with like getting back on defense, and protecting the paint. LA Tech's sideline roamer Michael White did a great job of preparing his team to flip their weaknesses into strengths for 40 minutes, and the Miners had no adjustment answers. And on top of the X's and O's portion, the Miners were out hustled, and out hearted (if that's a valid English phrase) in their own building against a team I'm sure they felt coming in they were better than on paper. Southern Miss. has two guards that can hurt you, but other than that, the Golden Eagle cupboard this season is drier than El Paso in May and June. Simply put for UTEP, defensive effort opens things up as a whole for this team, and the Miners showed none of that Thursday. UTEP's starting back court of Julian Washburn, C.J. Cooper, and Omega Harris were a combined 0/10 from the field in the second half. But it wasn't just the guards who failed to show up, the leaders on this team were no where to be found as well. The Miners offensive growth over the past few games appeared to take some giant leaps backwards against LA Tech, as did the play of Matt Willms who had only one rebound to show in his 14 minutes of action last night. If UTEP wants to keep the NCAA Tournament hopes and dreams alive, a leader or group of leaders have to step up vocally, and on the stat sheet offensively before its too late. FWIW CTF is 2-6 lifetime against Southern Miss. #MoreEarvinMorrisPlease

Southern Miss. Golden Eagles

Current Record: 5-8, 0-2 C-USA

Projected Starters:

Matt Bingaya 6'5, So, G, 15.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg

Chip Armelin, 6'4, Sr, G, 13.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg,

Rasham Suarez, 6'3, Jr, G, 6.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg

Davon Hayes, 6'7, Fr, F, 5.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg

Jeremiah Eason, 6'7, Sr, F, 2.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg,

Team Stats

Points Per Game 62.4
Opponents 69.9
FG% .451
Opponents% .468
3-point% .348
Opponents% .356
Free Throw% .640
Rebounds Per Game 28.8
Rebounding Margin -4.0
Assists Per Game 15.2
Steals Per Game

5.8

The ugly truth for us UTEP types is that Southern Miss. has owned UTEP on the hardwood the past four meetings. The bad news for Doc Sadler is Neil Watson, Jerrold Brooks, and Michael Craig, aren't walking through that door. Sadler has had a rough going to start his era at Southern Miss. with departures, and defections that have left Southern Miss. shorthanded. What they do have is a pair of left handed guards who can shoot, slash, and score. Bingaya, and Armelin are almost clones when it comes to their offensive games. Both are wiry lefties, and can drive by you, or pull up quickly with a left handed snap of the wrist. Armelin is the reigning C-USA Player of the Week and is averaging 23.3 points per game in last three games, and has also made 16 three pointers in his last four games. Depth is almost non-existent down Sadler's pine, but Norville Carey is a very good athlete who can get to the rim with fluidity, and has scored in double digits five times off the bench this season. When Southern Miss. isn't turning the ball over, they can be pretty efficient on offense, though have turned it over 197 times, and three of their main ball handlers have over 25 turnovers each. Defensively, they have allowed their last two opponents to make 13 three pointers each, and they struggle on the defensive boards when other teams start clanking. The Golden Eagles have allowed their last three opponents to shoot over 48 percent from the field, and are by no means a shot blocking team. Expect a man-to-man look from Sadler to open this C-USA run, though they did use an effective zone against UTSA in stretches where they were jumping cross court passing lanes for fast break looks. (UTSA was just as sloppy, don't let the score fool you) Heart and effort will be Sadler's main ingredient to stop the all of a sudden offensive struggling Miners as the Golden Eagles look to snap a five game losing skid.

Last Five

1/8-Loss 77-57 @ UTSA

1/3-Loss 83-70 vs. LA Tech

12/29-Loss 87-67 @ LSU

12/21-Loss 68-55 @ Georgia State

12/18-Loss 66-46 @ Jackson State

Game Information
Who? Southern Miss. Golden Eagles at UTEP Miners
Date/Time Saturday, January 10th, 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time
Location Don Haskins Center, El Paso, Texas
TV/Radio

No TV

Play-by-Play Available on the TuneIn App, or 92.3 FM In El Paso In English, Spanish 1650 AM In El Paso

Series Record UTEP leads 12-9