Miners Hold Off Falcons 90-63 in First Win of Rodney Terry Era
Take one: enter the Rodney Terry era, which was filled with mostly a brand new squad, high intensity and featured a win on opening night, 90-63, over UT Permian Basin on Tuesday night in the Don Haskins Center.
UTEP (1-0) was able to give fans a little taste of what's in store for the bunch down the line and showed off its shiny newcomers in the mix as well.
“There’s a lot of teaching going on right now, whether we’re in the locker room or on the floor. It’s a great time for our guys to continue to learn and get better in all aspects. Every minute that you’re on the floor, its matters,” Terry said. “I was pleased with our effort in the second half and I didn’t think we had the same intensity and effort defensively in the first half. I’m getting my guys to know how important it is to not want to coach effort, you want to coach execution.”
Sophomore guard Evan Gilyard led the way for the Miners with 24 points, while freshman forward Efe Odigie flirted with a double-double, totaling 23 points and nine rebounds.
Five Miners in total scored in double figures against UTPB, including Gilles Dekoninick (14), Kaosi Ezeagu (10) and Paul Thomas (10). The Miners bounced back from shooting 43 and 33 percent from the floor and 3-point range in the first half to shooting 65 and 63 from the floor and beyond the arc, respectively.
But it wasn't all rainbows for the Miners throughout the game. UTEP finished the night with 15 total turnovers, with eight coming from freshman guard Jordan Lathon, who finished the night with six points, 10 boards, four assists and two blocks.
They were also in foul trouble early on, with both Thomas and Odigie fouling out by the end of the game.
UTEP finished the game shooting 53 percent from the floor, 48 percent beyond the arc and 60 percent from free throw range. Gilyard, Lathon and Kobe Magee each played upwards of 37 minutes tonight, while the Miners went with a seven-man rotation.
Defensively, they held the Falcons to shooting just 30 percent from the floor and 20 percent from beyond the arc, including just 14 percent in the second half from 3-point range.
Freshman guard Nigel Hawkins is out with a hand injury but is expected to rejoin the team soon, per Terry.
And for Terry, tonight's win was something that meant a lot to him personally.
"It's very surreal," he said. "It's an honor to be here. The legend in Don Haskins and the legacy he left behind. Hopefully we can build on that. Couldn't sleep last night."
The Miners will travel to Las Cruces to take on NMSU on Friday, Nov. 9.