POSTED: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 6:42pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 7:35pm
UTEP (9-9, 2-2 C-USA) hosts East Carolina (9-7, 0-3 C-USA) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in the Don Haskins Center. The Miners will wear vintage 1966 uniforms on “Texas Western Throwback Night.” UTEP, then known as Texas Western College, won the historic 1966 national championship.
UTEP has won six of its last seven games in the Haskins Center, including a 70-64 overtime victory over SMU on Saturday.
The Miners have alternated wins and losses in their last nine games and are seeking their first winning streak since late December. UTEP hasn’t been above .500 this season. East Carolina is 1-3 on the road with all three defeats coming by five points or less.
UTEP is 41-8 in C-USA home games since joining the league for the 2005-06 season (7-0 in 2006, 5-3 in 2007, 7-1 in 2008, 5-3 in 2009, 8-0 in 2010, 7-1 in 2011, 2-0 in 2012). The Miners have won 19 of their last 20 C-USA regular season home games dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.
UTEP AT A GLANCE
The Miners are starting fresh this season with nine newcomers, including a Division I transfer (junior guard Jacques Streeter) and seven freshmen. UTEP returns just three letterwinners and one starter (senior forward Gabriel McCulley) from last year’s unit that finished 25-10 overall and tied for second place in Conference USA with an 11-5 mark. The Miners lost 82.5 percent of their scoring and 70.6 percent of their rebounding production from the 2010-11 squad, which had eight seniors.
SCOUTING EAST CAROLINA
The Pirates fell to 0-3 in C-USA play with a 70-67 loss to Tulsa on Saturday in Greenville. Five of East Carolina’s seven losses have come by five points or less, including three on the road. The Pirates also lost at home to Southern Miss (78-76) and at UCF (81-63) in league action.
Three of East Carolina’s top four scorers are newcomers, including junior guard Miguel Paul (Missouri transfer/16.0 ppg) and junior forward Maurice Kemp (Miami Dade College transfer/10.8 ppg). The top returnee from a year ago is senior forward Darrius Morrow, who has collected 1,309 points (sixth in school history) and 691 rebounds (10th) at ECU. He is averaging 13.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg this season.
The Pirates lead C-USA in three-point field goal percentage defense & steals and rank second in three-pointers per game. ECU is 16th in the NCAA in steals and 31st in three-point field goal defense. Paul is 27th nationally in assist/turnover ratio and 31st in assists.
UTEP has won four of the previous six matchups between the schools. The Miners are 3-0 versus the Pirates in El Paso.
Two of the highest individual scoring games in UTEP history have come against the Pirates. Randy Culpepper poured in 45 points, including 31 in the first half, in the Miners’ 100-76 victory in El Paso during the 2009-10 season. Stefon Jackson tallied 30 of his 41 points in the second half in UTEP’s 91-62 rout at the Haskins Center during the 2007-08 campaign. He accounted for the Miners’ first 16 points out of the break.
UTEP has had a 20-point scorer in every game it has played against East Carolina -- Jason Williams in 2006 (22), Jackson in 2007 (24) & 2008 (41), and Culpepper in 2009 (25), 2010 (45) and 2011 (22).
UTEP’s Tim Floyd is 0-1 against East Carolina and coach Jeff Lebo.