Miners Meet Tulane On Saturday
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 - 4:18pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 20, 2012 - 7:35pm
UTEP (10-9, 3-2 C-USA) shoots for its third straight win on Saturday at Tulane (12-6, 0-4 C-USA), which is seeking its first conference victory of the season. The Miners are over .500 for the first time this season and are coming off back-to-back home wins over SMU (70-64 in overtime) and East Carolina (70-56). UTEP has won eight of its last 12 games following a 2-5 start.
The matchup with the Green Wave begins a stretch of three straight C-USA road games for the Miners. UTEP has played three consecutive league road games just once previously since joining C-USA in 2005. The first occurrence was in February of 2008, when the Miners lost at UAB (81-73) and at Tulsa (73-50) before prevailing at Marshall (79-76) for their lone C-USA road win of the season.
UTEP will play at Houston on Jan. 28 and at Rice on Feb. 1 before returning to the Haskins Center to face UAB on Feb. 4.
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.
The Green Wave fell to 0-4 in C-USA action with a 60-56 loss at Tulsa on Wednesday. Tulane was ahead 32-25 at the half and didn’t relinquish the lead until 11:06 to go in the game, when the Golden Hurricane’s D.J. Magley converted a three-point play to put his team up 41-39. The game was tied at 41 with under 10 minutes to play before Tulsa started to pull away with a 13-3 run.
Tulane is playing without two of its top five scorers, junior swingman Kendall Timmons (13.6 ppg) and junior center Tomas Bruha (7.2 ppg). Both are out with injuries.
The Green Wave has the highest-scoring freshman in C-USA in guard Ricky Tarrant (12.3 ppg). Junior guard Jordan Callahan (11.4 ppg) and sophomore forward Josh Davis (10.7 ppg) are also averaging over 10 points per game.
Tulane is 9-2 at home this season with narrow losses to Southern Miss (71-66 in OT) and Rice (50-49). The Green Wave leads C-USA in scoring defense (55.5 ppg), scoring margin (+10.6 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.375). Tulane was sixth nationally in scoring defense and 12th in field goal percentage defense entering the week.
UTEP leads the series 6-2, and has won five of the seven matchups between the schools since joining Conference USA. The Miners are 1-2 at Fogelman Arena with losses during the 2006-07 (92-67) and 2008-09 (86-77) seasons and a 69-58 win there last year.
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.
THE LAST MEETING
Reserves John Bohannon and Gabriel McCulley combined to score 17 of UTEP’s 34 second half points, as the Miners rallied from a 38-35 halftime deficit to nip Tulane, 69-65, on Jan. 26, 2011 at the Don Haskins Center.
McCulley got UTEP started by scoring eight points in the first 10 minutes of the second period, and Bohannon came up with several big buckets down the stretch.
Bohannon scored six of UTEP’s points dur- ing a late 8-2 spurt that extended a 55-54 lead to 63-56. After the Green Wave whittled the lead down to three points twice in the final minute, the Miners hit free throws to keep the visitors at bay.
UTEP shot 68.4 percent in the second half to finish at 53.1 percent for the night. Tulane, which led by as many as nine points in the first half, buried 13-of-24 shots and 6-of-11 three pointers in the opening 20 minutes before the Miners turned up the defensive pressure.
The Green Wave shot 33.3 percent in the second half as its leading scorer, Kendall Timmons (17 points), was held to one point and two field goal attempts after the intermission.
Christian Polk paced four UTEP players in double figures with 16 points while adding six assists. Bohannon chipped in with 11 points, and Randy Culpepper & McCulley contributed 10 points each. Julyan Stone dished out seven assists and had double-figure rebounds for the fourth straight game with 10.
UTEP’S LAST GAME
John Bohannon picked up his third double-double of the season and Cedrick Lang keyed a 9-0 second half run as UTEP toppled East Carolina, 70-56, on Wednesday at the Don Haskins Center.
UTEP survived a three-point barrage from the Pirates, who went 10-for-29 from long range.
UTEP shot 71.4 percent (15-for-21) from the field in the first half, but took only a four-point advantage (36-32) into the locker room as East Carolina buried six triples and committed only two turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The Pirates took their first lead since the 17:12 mark of the first half, 45-43, on a three-pointer by Paris Campbell with 12:26 to play before UTEP embarked on the 9-0 spurt.
Jacques Streeter’s jumper tied the game at 45 with 12:12 remaining, then Lang converted a three-point play to put the Miners ahead 48-45 with 11:06 to go. On East Carolina’s next possession, Lang stole the ball from Maurice Kemp and, following consecutive misses by Michael Perez, scored a putback layup to extend the lead to 50-45. Gabriel McCulley capped the run with a pair of free throws at the 9:43 mark, putting UTEP up 52-45.
After East Carolina sliced the gap to two (52-50) on a three-pointer by Miguel Paul with 8:25 left, the Miners scored the next five points and the Pirates couldn’t get closer than five thereafter.
UTEP shot 52.1 percent from the field and 85.7 percent (18-for-21) from the line while outrebounding ECU 39-19.
Bohannon finished with 17 points and tied his career-high with 14 boards. McCulley added 16 points and seven rebounds, while Julian Washburn (12 points) and Perez (10) also scored in double figures.
Kemp and Paul scored 14 points each for the Pirates, and Darrius Morrow chipped in with 12.
UTEP outscored ECU 40-12 in the paint and didn’t allow a second-chance point for the second consecutive game.