POSTED: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 7:40pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:58pm
Miners To Play Tony Barbee And Auburn On Sunday
This time there was no magic in the Aloha shirt.
Despite Tim Floyd's floral attire, UTEP lost to Kansas State 78-70 in the semi finals of the Diamond Head Classic.
NewsChannel 9's Fred Albers has your highlights.
Angel Rodriguez scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, and Kansas State survived a spirited UTEP rally before dealing the Miners a 78-70 loss in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic semifinals on Friday afternoon.
UTEP will face Auburn in the third-place game of the tournament on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Auburn, coached by Tony Barbee, lost to Long Beach St. 64-43 on Friday.
The Miners fell behind by 15 points (47-32) early in the second half, but battled back to take a 59-57 lead on a jumper by John Bohannon with 10:07 to play. UTEP and Kansas State were tied at 60 before the Wildcats scored 11 straight points to pull away.
“I was proud of our effort in the second half, but that’s what you go through with young teams. You get it in spurts,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. “We’ve been pretty consistent for five games, but the first half tonight we’d like to have back.”
After running a variety of junk defenses in the first half, the Miners (5-6) went to man-to-man in the second half and gave the Wildcats (9-1) fits. Kansas State scored just 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half in being outscored 27-12.
“The man-to-man defense we played in the second half is who our teams have always been,” Floyd said. “We’ve had to play more junk than we’d like to because of our lack of depth inside, but that’s something we’ll probably have to fight through all year long.”
Rodney McGruder’s jumper with 7:22 to play kick-started the 11-0 run after UTEP knotted the score on a free throw by Cedrick Lang. Martavious Irving connected on a three-pointer at the 6:39 mark, Adrian Diaz scored a jumper at 5:50, Diaz hit a pair of free throws at 5:21, Jordan Henriquez converted a dunk at 4:29 and the Miners were all but out of it.
“I thought their coach made a great adjustment against our full court pressure by sending his guards up the floor and putting us in two-on-one situations, which forced us to back off of our press a little bit,” Floyd said. “We’d like to have a couple of shots back that we took in a 65-60 game that were really quick and outside of who we had been for 11 or 12 minutes in the second half.”
The Wildcats outrebounded the Miners 39-21, took 16 more shots and capitalized with an 18-11 edge in second chance points. UTEP went to the line a season-high 34 times and made 25.
“We played a team that we knew was one of the most physical teams in the country and one of the best man-to-man defensive teams that I’ve played against,” Floyd said. “They add to that by being a terrific, terrific offensive rebounding team. You can talk about it, but you can’t duplicate it in terms of coming back to the glass.”
The Miners placed five players in double figure scoring for the first time this season. Jacques Streeter scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half, while Julian Washburn added 13, Lang 12, Bohannon 10 and Michael Perez 10.
“Bohannon played better for us in the second half [10 points/four rebounds], which was encouraging,” Floyd said. “I thought Cedrick Lang played solid for us offensively. Jacques Streeter is making strides.”
Kansas State received a double-double from Jamar Samuels (10 points/12 boards). Eleven Wildcats played and 10 scored, while short-handed UTEP sent seven players out for 14 minutes or more.
“Kansas State has a nice club. I think they’re probably a top-25 club in my estimation, and a team that should be in the NCAA Tournament,” Floyd said.