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UTEP’s Season Over After 82-56 Loss to Middle Tennessee

Blake Roberts of the Daily Dragon.
Blake Roberts of the Daily Dragon.

The UTEP men’s basketball season ended today in Birmingham after top seed Middle Tennessee dominated the Miners from the opening tip. When the game ended, the Blue Raiders won easily 82-56 and likely ended any postseason hopes for Tim Floyd.

“It flipped from being a really, really poor basketball team through the first week in January to a team that was a real problem for people the last couple of months,” Floyd said after the game. “It’s a real testament to guys taking responsibility for their inadequacies, coaches as well, and not pointing the finger, making the determination to self-improve and what can come from that when you’ve got a common goal in mind. I was extremely, extremely proud of our team.”

Blake Roberts of the Daily Dragon.
Blake Roberts of the Daily Dragon.

A big reason for the Miners second half turnaround was senior guard Dominic Artis. Coach Floyd had glowing praise for his floor general after the game. “I came in here every single day the last two months knowing that it was a team committed to getting better. It transferred into wins, and it transferred into great camaraderie. Dominic Artis should get the lion’s share of the credit for that, being a senior. He chose not to play for himself, but to try to keep us organized and play with heart. I thought he did that.”

Blake Roberts of the Daily Dragon.
Blake Roberts of the Daily Dragon.

Although the Miners (15-17) could still play in a lesser postseason tournament like the CBI or CIT, Coach Floyd has said in past years that he is not interested in participating in anything other than the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Still, he was very proud of his team after the game.

“I told the guys in the locker room, I don’t recall one of my teams where I could look at the seven guys who were playing a lot at the end of the season and say, ‘Each one of you guys improved as much as any guy that I’ve had on any team.’ Every single guy got better, and they were fun to work with.”

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