POSTED: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 9:25pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 10:43pm
With less than three weeks of practice under its belt, a UTEP men’s basketball team chock full of new players will play its first game of the 2011-12 season on Thursday at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners will take on Eastern New Mexico at 7 p.m. in the first of two weekend exhibition games. UTEP will host Sul Ross State on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the final tune-up prior to the regular season opener against UT San Antonio, a 2010 NCAA Tournament team, on Friday, Nov. 11.
Tickets to both of UTEP’s exhibition games are only $10 and are available by calling 747-5234.
Eight players – including seven newcomers – scored in double figures in the Miners’ intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday afternoon.
“There were some good things,” coach Tim Floyd said of the scrimmage. “We saw some guys that we think are going to be able to shoot the ball. I like the fact that we handled the ball pretty well. I think that some of the points may have been a lie, because I don’t think either team guarded well at all. It looked to me like we were playing maybe a notch above an AAU game or a pick-up game in terms of defensive intensity level and how hard guys have to play.
“We have a long way to go. We’re not ready to play a game by any means, but I’m sure the kids are excited about it.”
Eastern New Mexico was 13-14 last season and returns three seniors who averaged double figures in scoring last season -- guard Stefan Mirabal (14.4 ppg) and forwards Max Carrier (13.3 ppg) and Aaron Edwards (10.5 ppg). But Thursday’s game is more about the Miners continuing to improve than what the Greyhounds will throw at them.
“We’re going to play different lineups, different rosters. We’re going to try to sub a great deal based on mistakes,” Floyd said. “We didn’t have to do that a lot last year with a veteran group, but these kids need to come out of the game, understand what they did wrong, go back into the game and try to do it better. I don’t know if there’s going to be a real flow to these games, but we’re going to have a chance to look at a lot of players.”