UTEP vs. ODU: Slumping Miners Host Monarchs in Hopes for a Home Win
As soon as the buzzer sounds on Thursday evening in the Don Haskins Center, the Miners (6-11, 1-5 C-USA) will embrace the underdog role and fight an uphill battle against Old Dominion (15-5, 5-2 C-USA).
And after losing five of their six games to start their conference slate, UTEP has now found themselves in dire need of wins as they approach the month of February.
The Miners are coming off back-to-back losses on the road to UAB (76-63) and Middle Tennessee (75-72). On the other hand, the Monarchs have won four straight, including a 76-70 win over Charlotte on Monday.
Old Dominion is undergoing a three-game stretch in a single week, as they face the Miners and UTSA on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, after having traveled to Charlotte on Monday.
“Old Dominion is a very good team with some older players, some of the best older players in this league,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said in a release. “Their point guard [Ahmad] Caver is a good player. He’s averaging 19 points a game, he gets rebounds and just does a lot for his team. [B.J.] Stith is also one of the top players in the league. He’s a preseason all-league guy who will play at the next level. Their two seniors are good players. [Old Dominion] Coach [Jeff] Jones does a good job and we had a chance to compete against him years ago [while at Fresno State] when he first got to Old Dominion and had a really good team. From that point on, his program has been very good every year. Once he was able to get [the program] established the way he wanted it, he’s got that thing going pretty good.”
UTEP's starting freshmen trio in Nigel Hawkins, Jordan Lathon and Efe Odigie account for a combined 36 points per game. Hawkins has hit in double-digits through the last four games (17.0 ppg during the span), while Lathon is leading the team in assists (3.2) and steals (1.2). Odigie leads C-USA in rebounds per game (9.3).
B.J. Stith has become a monster guard for the Monarchs, averaging 17.9 ppg and 8.2 rebounds a game. He's coming off a 22 point performance against Charlotte.
Ahmad Caver ties Stith for points per game on the team (17.9) and leads the team in assists (106).
ODU is the top team in C-USA for scoring defense (60.9 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.386). They also rank second in scoring margin (+7.4) and rebounds per game (39.1).
Tonight's game will tip-off at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN+ with 600 ESPN El Paso's Duke Keith on the call.