Hoop rises to the occasion
Its weird to say a fifth year senior grew up before our eyes, but that is exactly what Vint did Saturday. (CHUGS BEER IN CELEBRATION)
Vint finished with 18 points, and nine rebounds, but more importantly became a physical force UTEP needed in this win and for the rest of the season.
He stretched the defense with his jump shot in some sequences, and affected Sean O'Brien in the second half, holding him to nine second half points after O'Brien posted 14 in the first half.
Make that two straight games in where Hooper's physicality, experience, and sheer leadership showed out in a big way.
With the lack of front court depth, outings like today has to become a night-in-and-night out thing from big #23.
Winn the warrior
Without Terry Winn's energy, effort, and first career double-double, UTEP probably loses.
Winn was aggressive, and efficient on offense, as well as almost unstoppable on the defensive boards.
He battled through foul trouble for most of the game, becoming the player and physical force most Miner fans figured he would bring.
The most impressive thing was his ability to get to the free throw line seven times in the second half, and finished 7-of-10 from the free throw line for the game.
UTEP ran a few sets that went through him, and Winn either made the correct pass, or right move to the bucket.
A big performance from an important piece in just his third game career game.
Second half defense was impressive
UTEP used tenacious pressure, athleticism, and flat out will to slow down Southern Illinois in the second half.
The Miners kept the ball outside of the lane, protected the middle, and forced SIU into long three pointers by some impatient play by SIU's guards.
A key to this game was slowing down SIU guard Anthony Beane who came in averaging over 20-points per game.
A combination of Earvin Morris, and Jake Flaggert shut down the talented Beane, and helped UTEP close out SIU.
Morris and Flaggert played no-catch, shading defense with their length and athletic ability that just bothered Beane for the entire 40-minutes.
Beane was never a factor or found himself in an offensive rhythm, and UTEP didn't give up very many easy looks in the second half.
It seems this team is buying into the Tim Floyd defensive identity, and it showed up big in the second half.
Terry Winn after UTEPs 71-66 winPosted by Miner Rush on Friday, November 27, 2015
Posted by Miner Rush on Friday, November 27, 2015