Miners Pick Up First Road Victory of the Season at Memphis
UTEP’s road woes have been well documented. Before today, the young Miners hadn’t achieved victory away from the Haskins Center. Yes, they did win a couple games in Hawaii over the holidays, but not a true road game.
The Miners got off to an inauspicious start. Memphis scored the first nine points of the game, and it appeared like it was going to be the proverbial ‘long day’ for UTEP. Despite having no answer for the Tigers’ Tarik Black in the first half, the Miners hung tough. Trailing 28-19 at the break, the Miners certainly didn’t play themselves out of the game in the first half.
Once the Miners’ made some adjustments on Black in the second half, the Tigers’ poor shooting proved to be their downfall. Memphis shot a paltry 37.5% from the field, and had a hard time mustering offense outside of Black.
UTEP hardly put on an offensive clinic, but timely shots by Michael Perez, Jacques Streeter, and Julian Washburn always kept the Miners at arms length of Memphis. Cedric Lang’s free throw with 1:19 remaining gave UTEP their first lead at 57-55.
UTEP led 60-55 with under 30 seconds, but Will Barton cut the deficit to two with a clutch three. The Miners turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass, and it was starting to seem like UTEP’s poor luck on the road might continue. When Barton’s three point attempt clanked off the rim at the buzzer, Tim Floyd and the Miners were finally able to breathe a big sigh of relief.
This win is an encouraging sign for the Miners. They have proved they can play with anyone in the conference and are capable of making a run in the C-USA tournament. UTEP will get another great test Wednesday night. The Miners host league leading Southern Miss at 7 PM.