Miners continue homestand with Tulane

Miners continue homestand with Tulane
Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 6:57pm

UTEP (11-13, 4-6 C-USA) concludes a three-game homestand against Tulane (15-8, 3-6 C-USA) on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Miners ended a four-game losing skid with a 62-55 victory over Tulsa on Wednesday. Tulane won the first meeting between the two teams, 66-58, on Jan. 21 in New Orleans.
UTEP is 43-9 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, 4-1 in 2012). The Miners have won 21 of their last 23 C-USA regular season home games dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.
After Saturday, UTEP will play three straight games versus teams currently occupying the top three spots in the C-USA standings. The Miners will play at Memphis (Feb. 18) and UCF (Feb. 25), sandwiched around a Feb. 22 home date with Southern Miss. UTEP will be idle on Wednesday (Feb. 15).

Several players and coaches from UTEP’s 1991-92 team that upset top seed Kansas, 66-60, to reach the “Sweet 16” of the NCAA Tournament will be honored on Saturday. The Miners finished 27-7 and made their final appearance in the “Big Dance” under Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins. That remains the last UTEP team to win a game in the NCAA Tournament. The Miners’ top players that year were Marlon Maxey (15.2 ppg), David Van Dyke (13.9 ppg), Prince Stewart (11.5 ppg), Eddie Rivera (11.4 ppg) and Johnny Melvin (8.0 ppg).

The Green Wave has been idle since last Saturday, when it beat Houston at Fogelman Arena, 75-54, to improve to 15-8 overall and 3-6 in C-USA play. Tulane has won three of its last five league games following an 0-4 start. The Green Wave, however, has yet to taste victory in a C-USA road game, stumbling at UCF (60-53), Tulsa (60-56), Rice (88-74) and Marshall (63-44). Tulane is 2-6 overall on the road in 2011-12.
Tulane entered the week ranked 12th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 58.1 points per game. The Green Wave has three players with double-digit scoring averages, not counting junior guard Kendall Timmons (13.6 ppg) who is out for the season with an achilles tendon injury. Guard Ricky Tarrant (14.2 ppg) is the front-runner for C-USA Freshman of the Year, while junior guard Jordan Callahan & sophomore forward Josh Davis average 12.0 and 10.7 ppg, respectively. Davis also averages 9.4 rebounds per contest.

UTEP leads the series 6-3, and has won five of the eight matchups between the schools since joining Conference USA. The Miners are 4-0 versus the Green Wave at the Haskins Center. UTEP topped the Green Wave at home on Jan. 18, 2006 (75-47), Feb. 6, 2008 (66-64), Jan. 27, 2010 (84-71) and Jan. 26, 2011 (69-65). The ‘08 win came on a putback by Claude Britten with 3.5 seconds remaining.
In the first-ever matchup between the programs, Jim Barnes scored 32 points and pulled down 18 rebounds, leading Texas Western College (now UTEP) to a 76-59 win over Tulane on Dec. 20, 1963 at the Arkansas State Tournament in Jonesboro. Barnes was later selected by New York with the first pick in the 1964 NBA Draft.
UTEP’s Tim Floyd is 4-3 against Tulane in his college coaching career, including 2-1 at UTEP. Floyd faced the Green Wave four times as the head coach at New Orleans from 1988-94.

Freshman Ricky Tarrant scored 22 points, including a crucial three-point play with 1:09 remaining, as Tulane beat the Miners, 66-58, on Jan. 21 at Fogelman Arena for its first C- USA win of the season.
Tre Drye added 13 points and Josh Davis pulled down 11 rebounds for the Green Wave. The Miners were beaten despite shooting 51.2 percent from the floor and outrebounding the Green Wave 27-26.
The game was tied at 28 at halftime. Mi-chael Perez scored five straight points to put UTEP ahead 36-33 with 16:27 to play. But Tulane regrouped with a 10-2 run, including a couple of buckets from reserve Ben Cherry, to open a 43-38 lead with 13:24 to go.
The Green Wave did not trail again. UTEP rallied from a nine-point deficit (51-42) and cut the margin to two (53-51) on a free throw by Cedrick Lang with 2:39 to play, but Perez missed the potential go-ahead three-pointer with 1:46 left. Tarrant secured the defen- sive rebound, then drove for the layup and was fouled by Lang to convert the three-point play and put the Green Wave in control of the game.
Tulane had big advantages in points off turnovers (19-7) and fast break points (10-2). The Green Wave’s depleted bench also out- scored UTEP’s 23-7 led by Drye and Cherry (seven points). UTEP finished with 18 turn- overs.
Perez led the Miners with 14 points. John Bohannon and Julian Washburn scored 13 each.

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