Floyd Ejected as Rice Ruins UTEP’s Senior Day
All the momentum UTEP had after consecutive wins over Memphis and Southern Miss seems to be gone. After a lackluster performance against UCF over the weekend, the Miners dropped their final home game of the season, 68-61 to Rice.
Tim Floyd went with the unusual starting line-up of Jacques Streeter, Jalen Ragland, Cedrick Lang, and walk-ons Tyler Tafoya and Mauricio Cheda. Unhappy with their performance in Orlando, Floyd benched normal starters Gabe McCulley, Michael Perez, and Julian Washburn to start the game.
The key moment of the contest took place with under five minutes to go in the game. Trailing 50-45, Jacques Streeter stole the ball and drove to the basket. Streeter was knocked to the ground by a Rice defender. The referee called Streeter for traveling, and Floyd flipped his lid. It was one of the worst calls I've ever seen, and Floyd had every right to go nuts. However, his double technical cost the Miners four vital points.
Trailing 56-45 with 4:10 to go, UTEP went on an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to 58-56 with 1:05 left. Rice then went on a 6-0 run to seal the game.
Four Owls reached double figures, and the team was a masterful 22-27 from the line. The Miners shot a dismal 36.4% for the game, and were 9-30 (30%) in the second half.
The lone bright spot for the Miners was the performance of their lone senior. Gabe McCulley finished his home career with 17 points. McCulley was a perfect 6-6 from the field.
After the game, Coach Floyd tiptoed around his ejection, so as not to upset league officials and earn a hefty fine!
UTEP finishes its regular season Saturday at SMU before heading to Memphis for the C-USA tournament. The Miners are locked into the 8 seed and will play Houston in the first round of the conference tournament.