UTEP vs. Marquette: Is This Where UTEP Splashes Its Biggest Win?
There has been a boiling energy within the UTEP men's basketball locker room and the young Miners are hungry for a huge win.
Doing it against a tough Marquette team would be gigantic.
On Tuesday night UTEP (3-4) will test their road luck, as they take on Marquette (6-2) at Fiserv Forum arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Miners are coming off a beat-down victory over Northwestern State, where freshmen Nigel Hawkins and Jordan Lathon put up 16 points each and the Miners secured the 77-47 win.
On the other hand, though, Marquette is coming off a statement victory after upsetting No. 10 Kansas State (83-71), as junior Markus Howard put up 45 points on Saturday afternoon.
“We’re going to play a fast team on Tuesday in Marquette. They’re really going to push the basketball and challenge us with our shooting defense,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “We played Steve’s [Wojciechowski] team a couple years ago [while at Fresno State] and those guys were freshmen and now they’re juniors. Howard and [Sam] Hauser, those guys are really good players that can score the basketball, but they push that ball up really quick.”
And it's a tale of two teams. On one hand, UTEP ranks fourth in C-USA for field goal defense (.414), while on the other hand, Howard is No. 21 in the nation, averaging 22.6 points per game.
The last time these teams squared off was in the Don Haskins era, where Texas Western lost to Marquette 77-65 in Milwaukee.
“We’re going to play a fast team on Tuesday in Marquette," UTEP coach Rodney Terry said. "They’re really going to push the basketball and challenge us with our shooting defense.”
UTEP enters the game with three of its five starting freshmen, forward Efe Odigie, guard Nigel Hawkins and combo guard Jordan Lathon, averaging a combined 30.9 points per game. Sophomore Evan Gilyard still leads the team in scoring, averaging 19.1 points per game, while senior forward Paul Thomas averages 10.4.
Marquette's only losses come to Indiana on the road and Kansas, who were No. 2 at the time of their loss. Aside to their upset victory over K-State, Marquette has a overtime win over Louisville (77-74).
Howard's 22.6 points per game for the Golden Eagles are complemented by the Hauser brothers at the forward spots. Sam Hauser averages 15.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, while his brother Joey Hauser averages 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists each game.
"We played Steve’s (Wojciechowski) team a couple years ago (while Terry was the head coach at Fresno State) and those guys were freshmen and now they’re juniors," Terry said. "Howard and (Sam) Hauser, those guys are really good players that can score the basketball. But they push that ball up really quick.”
UTEP-Marquette will be televised on Fox Sports 1 starting at 6:45 p.m. MT.