The UTEP Men's Basketball team spent Wednesday and Thursday preparing for Sunday's I-10 matchup at the Haskins Center with New Mexico State. It's been a hard week of practice, but easier when a guest speaker comes in to motivate. No one motivates like Nolan Richardson. The Former Texas Western Miner went to practice for a pep talk to his Miners.
Richardson will have his #45 jersey retired Sunday at halftime of the game against NMSU.
"I am excited by it, and it's a great honor, I am looking forward to it on Sunday. Of course, we have to beat the Aggies though," said Richardson. UTEP Head coach Tim Floyd added, "He's always remembered for where he came from, and the city's meant a great deal to him, and I think he feels pretty good about the jersey hanging up there for as long as the building will be there."
Free pom pons will be presented to the first 5,000 fans, courtesy of SONIC, at Sunday’s game. UTEP will honor Nolan Richardson with the retiring of his jersey as part of the “Miner Legends” series, with another surprise in store for fans at halftime.
UTEP and NM State will complete its annual two-game set with a matinee at the Don Haskins Center on Sunday, Dec. 11. The Miners and the Aggies will square off at 3 p.m. MT as the SONIC Battle of I-10 Rivalry Series resumes. NMSU won the first matchup between the schools, 89-73, on Nov. 19 in Las Cruces.
UTEP will return to action after dropping a tough 64-59 decision at Oregon on Nov. 29. The Miners stayed within striking distance of the Ducks for the full 40 minutes as sophomore guard Michael Perez poured in a career-high 18 points.
“We can get better in all areas,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “Oregon is a fine basketball team. We made strides. We grew a little bit offensively and defensively, and we got a little better on the boards. We did a little better job in terms of our game planning and assignments.”
The Aggies bring a 5-3 mark into the game and are coming off back-to-back losses to Arizona (83-76) and Southern Miss (74-66).