Men’s Basketball Set to Square Off Against Eastern New Mexico
After falling in back-to-back games against NMSU and Arizona, the Miners (1-2) will come back home to take on Eastern New Mexico (1-3) on Monday at the Don Haskins Center.
This will be the first time in 43 years that the two teams will face each other.
UTEP enters Monday's game with freshman guard Nigel Hawkins returning back to the mix, as he made his collegiate debut against Arizona, where he had seven points, six rebounds, three assists and a steal. Hawkins' upside is evident for the Miners and he could have some big numbers tonight.
Rounding out the backcourt for UTEP are sophomore Evan Gilyard and freshman Jordan Lathon. Gilyard started the season with back-to-back 20-plus point performances, but had just four points against the Wildcats last week. Lathon has shown flashes of his athleticism, but is struggling in terms of true scoring and turning the ball over for the Miners. He's currently shooting 21 percent from the floor (5-for-23) and 11 percent from 3-point range (1-of-9), while totaling 12 turnovers on the season so far.
Sophomore Kobe Magee, who has been an efficient scorer, will come off the bench for the Miners. Magee isn't taking too many shots so far, but he's currently shooting 50 percent from the floor (7-of-14) and 44 percent beyond the arc (4-of-9).
Senior forward Paul Thomas is coming off his third straight game where he was fouled out. Thomas led the Miners against the Wildcats with 14 points, but also tied a team-high in turnovers with six.
The big men down low in freshmen Efe Odigie and Kaosi Ezeagu are showing their raw talent as forwards and are doing some nice work overall. Odigie had his first double-double against Arizona with 13 points and 11 boards. He has put up 23, 13 and 13 points in his first three outings as a Miner. Ezeagu's numbers thus far don't jump off the page, but he's averaging almost five points, five boards and one block per game.
Scouting Eastern New Mexico
The Greyhounds (0-3) kicked off their season with three straight losses to Fort Lewis (82-74), N.M. Highlands (87-76), St. Edwards (85-68). They bounced back in their last game against Jarvis Christian, beating them out 88-60.
Their standout player is forward Chukuka Emili, who had two back-to-back double-double performances against N.M. Highlands and St. Edwards. Guard Zach Parker is averaging 13.3 points per game to go along with Emili.
Tip-off for tonight's game is set for 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center.