The Bulldog Breakdown
After losing three staples of their recent success to graduation, LA Tech has seen very little drop off with an almost brand new group and a new head coach despite a 4-3 C-USA record.
Senior Alex Hamilton now runs the point, Erik McCree is looking like a sleeper pro-prospect, and a high potential player had a break out game on Thursday.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Bulldogs on Thursday against UTSA, led by Alex Hamilton who recorded his fourth double-double of the season.
Hamilton is best player in the nation no-one talks about, and will be tough matchup for UTEP just like McCree.
6'6 sophomore Jacobi Boykins knocked down four three pointers against UTSA on Thursday, tying a career high 16-points and is another matchup problem for UTEP on the perimeter.
LA Tech's length and athleticism are things many teams struggle with, and they are also a little more deeper depth wise this season.
Sophomore guard Dayon Griffin has scored in double figures in seven of their last eight games, including five straight.
Leantwan Luckett, and Derric Jean round out a solid guard rotation that has dished out more than 20 assists twice this season, and has helped the Bulldogs attempt at least 30 free throw attempts six times this season.
Their length isn't only used to get to the rim.
LA Tech has blocked 10 shots twice this season, led by 6'8 forwards Jy'lan Washington, and Merrill Holden.
Since February of 2012, LA Tech is 60-2 at home which, and 11-1 this season as UTEP enters with a lengthy road losing streak.
Can UTEP recover?
There is no sugar coating Thursday night's loss to Southern Miss.
It was uglier than ugly.
UTEP battled through foul trouble, themselves, and numerous three minute scoring droughts.
Southern Miss' ball movement once again picked apart UTEP and allowed 12 three pointers on the evening.
But Lee Moore was once again solid, and Hooper Vint did his best to hold down the paint.
Dominic Artis continues his rough offensive scoring stretch, while the road frustration boiled over with a Tim Floyd ejection with UTEP down by six with 33 seconds left.
Confidence appears to be lost, adjustments haven't been made other than Thursday's starting lineup, and the road woes continue on.
LA Tech is a difficult matchup for UTEP on the defensive end as UTEP has struggled to stay out of foul trouble, and all LA Tech does is live at the free throw line if allowed.
It's going to take more than just basic execution on things we've talked about all year pertaining to this team.
Miners have to dig deep, and it starts at the top with Floyd.
You're season is never over in college basketball until March, but after Thursday's game the walls closed in even tighter on the 2015-16 season.
Four to watch
Alex Hamilton, G, LA Tech
The talented lefty can get to the rim, find his teammates for buckets, and is improving his defense. Pro scouts should be very aware of the Chipely, Florida talent as he has triple-double potential every time out on the floor.
Hooper Vint, F, UTEP
Vint suffered an apparent ankle injury against Southern Miss, and did not play in the final four minutes. If Vint is unable to go, the loss of a consistent producer will hurt UTEP in a big, big way.
Erik McCree, F, LA Tech
After a rough stretch of two bad offensive games, McCree has been solid in his past two games averaging 20 points, and 9.5 rebounds. The versatile 6'8 forward is sometimes LA Tech's second ball handler, and will be a problem for UTEP to keep out of the lane. He can get to the rim with his smooth strides, and handles, but is 6-of-13 from behind the three point line during the past two games.
Lee Moore, G, UTEP
Moore has been UTEP's strong point during this two game losing streak. LA Tech has a number of different guards who can matchup with Moore, but it will be interesting to see if Vint is unable how much of the rebounding load will Moore have to take.
Mine Rush's Opening Line: LA Tech -11.5