With a 98-50 win over Western New Mexico, the Miners bounced back from a disappointing first exhibition game using defense and an encouraging strong performance from Keith Frazier.
Freshman Trey Wade and grad-transfer Keith Frazier put on a show for the home crowd. Frazier finished the game with a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing an impressive 12 rebounds.
Wade scored 19 points, dished 3 assists, and also pulled in 8 rebounds. Though they led the way, the Miners had three other players score in double figures.
Moreover, the UTEP defense played a smothering zone all night (25% Opp FG) leading to tough shots just as Coach Tim Floyd said they wanted to do.
"We got a little better in some areas," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "We were able to look at different combinations of players. The only regret in the game was that Tirus Smith again could not play very long [five minutes, five fouls]. We really wanted to see him with some quality minutes tonight and it just didn't happen. We got an inside presence with Matt [Willms]. I thought we got him the ball when he was in there, which was good."
A 40-18 massive points in the paint lead, was brought on by playing a smaller Division II opponent. However, the 6-of-10 shooting from 3-point range in the second half as a team was encouraging.
The first half of the game saw a slow start by the Miners, however, led by Keith Frazier’s 14 first half points the Miners entered half time with a 44-27 lead.
WNMU struggled to find any success in the paint (5-20 FG) during the first half, but relied heavily on their outside shooting (4-12 FG). That success from three point range ended in the second half after shooting a terrible 1-for-12 from the field.
UTEP was able to maintain their success during the second half by dishing out 22 assists and recording 11 steals. Overall, the Miners improved and got key production from impact transfer Keith Frazier which will needed this season.
"Keith really hadn't played in almost two and a half years. He just gets a little better every single day," Floyd said. "He just started practicing with us two and a half weeks ago. You can see some flashes of why he was a McDonald's All-American. He can just get the ball in the basket. He's going to help us there. We want to help him try to get back to the foul line and increase his productivity there. We want to help him by getting better defensively."
Omega Harris played sparingly once again as the senior nurses a tight back.
"I don't know how bad it is but he's a guy that can just play all day," Floyd said. "It's got me concerned. It tightened up on him again tonight. We held him out of about five practices. We started him on yoga with the hopes that maybe that will help a little bit. We've got to get productivity from that spot."
UTEP will now prepare for their season opener November 10th at the Don against Louisiana College.