UTEP sophomore guard Michael Perez was named the co-Conference USA Player of the Week on Monday, and forward Cedrick Lang was appointed the league's Freshman of the Week.
Perez earned a spot on the All-Tournament team at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic by averaging 17.7 points as UTEP captured third place in the tournament. The Miners faced three teams from the power conferences (Clemson, Kansas State, Auburn) and went 2-1 with a narrow loss to K-State (78-70). Perez scored a career-high 25 points while playing the full 40 minutes in the Miners’ 61-48 win over Clemson. He scored nine points in the final five minutes, including a pair of big three pointers, in UTEP’s 83-76 victory over Auburn. UTEP posted its first wins over ACC and SEC opponents since 1988 and 1989 respectively. For the week, Perez averaged 15.5 ppg while shooting 48.6 percent from the field, 47.6 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the line. His .600 three-point field goal percentage (9-for-15) in the Diamond Head Classic led all players.
Lang scored in double figures in three of four games as the Miners posted a 3-1 week with wins over McNeese State, Clemson and Auburn, and a loss to Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic champion Kansas State. He tied his season-high with 12 points versus McNeese and K-State. For the week Lang averaged 9.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, shooting 70 percent from the floor and 68.8 percent from the charity stripe. His .667 field goal percentage (10-for-15) in the Diamond Head Classic tied for best among participating players.
It marks the first time either player has been honored by the conference office. Perez shared Player of the Week accolades with Southern Miss senior guard Darnell Dodson. UTEP has now had the C-USA Freshman of the Week in three straight weeks, as Julian Washburn was recognized on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19.