UTEP's offense may have reflected the change in the local weather. Ice cold.

The Miners' defense, on the other hand, was too long, too tall, too Vince Hunter-y.

"D" stood for dominant in a 65-52 opening night win over Washington State in front of 10,419 at the Don Haskins Center Friday night. Power forward Vince Hunter lived up to the position with 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Hunter's double-double was the foundation of UTEP's smothering effort, and the stats supported it. The Miners out-hustled the Cougars for second-chance points (18-4), steals (11-5), rebounds (46-37) and blocks (7-5).

UTEP head coach Tim Floyd pointed to his team's height and length as a key reason behind the win. How long and tall were the Miners? Check out the video of 7-1 C Matt Willms putback dunk after Hunter's miss above. Nobody in a dark jersey was close to out-jumping either Hunter or Willms.

The "D" almost papered over a chilly night shooting the ball for the hosts. Almost.

Perhaps it was a small case of opening night jitters playing in front of a large home crowd, but the Miners followed a 35.7% effort in the first with an even colder 34.3% in the second.

Floyd feels there is still much to be done offensively before UTEP's next home game, Saturday, Nov. 22, against I-10 rivals New Mexico State.

But the smile he was sporting all through his post-game press conference was a dead giveaway. Defense delights.

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