UTEP vs. FAU Preview: Miners Prepare to Host Florida Squads This Week
The Miners are headed toward the second half of their C-USA schedule this week, as they get set to host Florida Atlantic on Thursday at the Don Haskins Center with a 7 p.m. tipoff.
UTEP (7-14, 2-8 C-USA) will use these final two home games to try and boost their conference record in anticipation for conference group pairings, which will come after their road stretch against LA Tech and Southern Miss next week. The Miners are coming off back-to-back road losses to Marshall (91-86) and WKU (76-59) last week.
FAU (13-10, 4-6 C-USA) enters this game in a similar coaching change as UTEP, with first-year head coach Dusty May leading the Owls this season.
“[May has] done a great job, had a pretty good returning cast and put a couple pieces around them,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said in a release. “I give them credit, they’ve done a good job this year. We’re excited about being back home to play them and see if we can ride the ship and get better.”
The Owls split their games last week after beating LA Tech (69-61) and lost to Southern Miss (74-72).
Following their loss of their leading scorer Jalyin Ingram, who is out due to a knee injury, the Owls have relied on Anthony Adger, who is one of the premier shooters in the conference. He is averaging a team-best 16.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and averages 3.0 3-pointers per game.
Like UTEP, their young and talented freshmen have stepped up this season, with the likes of guard Michael Forrest (9.3 ppg, 3.0 assists) and Jaylen Sbree (9.4 ppg).
They are first in C-USA for their +4.8 rebounding margin, first in rebounds per game (40.3) and offensive rebounds per game (12.7).
The Miners will need big nights from freshmen duo Efe Odigie, C-USA's second-best rebounder at 9.7 per game, and Nigel Hawkins, who is averaging 13 points and five rebounds per game.
Should the Miners lose in either of these two games, they are likely in the bottom pool of the C-USA grouping.