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UTEP at Charlotte Game Preview

The Miners make their first appearance in Halton Arena since 2001.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte had six players score at least 15 points, as they continue on their strong offensive stretch by surviving a 114-108 double overtime thriller against UTSA Thursday night.

The 49ers rank second in the conference in points per game during conference play, and shoot .415 percent from 3-point land which is also tops in the conference during C-USA play.

On February 11th, the 49ers made 17 three pointers against Rice which tied a school record.

Braxton Ogbueze returns and has hit five 3-pointers in eight games this season, and was 7-of-7 from behind the three point arch earlier this season against Appalachian State.

While Ogbueze is the known returning producer from a new look Charlotte squad, a freshman trio have provided production that will light up Halton Arena for the next three years.

Freshman guard Andrien White knocked down a team season high eight 3-pointers against Old Dominion, and is averaging 11.1 points per game.   White has made 60 3-pointers this season which is the second highest total by a Charlotte freshman and needs just two more the smash the mark.

Former UTEP target Curran Scott dropped 22 points on 13-of-15 shooting from the free throw line against UTSA.  The 6'4 scoring machine notched the first 30-point scoring game for Charlotte since 2012 when he poured in 30 against UAB in Mid-January.

Jon Davis rounds out the three-headed freshman attack in the back court.  Davis' 129 assists is also the second highest assist mark for a freshman in school history, and he's also shooting just under 40 percent from 3-point land.

The guard matchup looks even with Charlotte also using a four guard lineup, but the difference will be Charlotte's 6'10 center Joseph Uchebo.

Uchebo now owns the C-USA record for the most rebounds during C-USA play, shattering Kenyon Martin's record which stood for more than a decade.

He has 15 double figure rebound games, and 14 double-doubles, he also averages a double-double.

The main key for either side is getting off to strong starts.

A slow start hadn't affected UTEP in a little over a month until Thursday, but the road reality hit UTEP hard in the opening stages of Thursday night's loss.

"Our offensive inefficiency in the first half was attributed to Old Dominion."  Tim Floyd said.  "Our guys were squared up when we tried to drive. The help was there when we tried to drive. When our guys got ready to shoot it, they closed out on it really hard. And then when we missed shots, we only got one. And when they missed a shot in the first half, they got two and they got three. And to me that was a big difference in the ball game."

UTEP's 2-of-14 start from the field put them behind the 8-ball all night, and led to the lowest point total in almost a month.   Only one Miner was able to reach double figure scoring numbers.

Keeping Uchebo and Charlotte off the boards will be countered by shots falling, and ball movement creating easy layups for UTEP.  Opponents are shooting .478 percent from the field against Charlotte this season, and the 49ers allow an average of 80.4 points per game.

The 49ers also rank towards the bottom of the conference in 3-point field goal percentage defense.

It's a favorable matchup for UTEP on paper, but as it's been with this UTEP team all year, will the shots fall, and scoreboard light up for the Miners?

UTEP's Keys to Victory

  • Extend defensive pressure past the 3-point line
  • Make every layup, and shot from around the rim
  • Get to the free throw line
  • Avoid scoring droughts

Who has the edge?

Guards: Even

Frontcourt: Even

Shooting: Charlotte

Rebounding: Charlotte

Defense: UTEP

Intangibles: UTEP

Miner Rush's Opening Line: Charlotte -2.5