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UTEP Travels to Face Oregon Tuesday Night


POSTED: Monday, November 28, 2011 - 6:17pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 7:53pm

UTEP (1-3) plays its second road game of the season on Tuesday at Oregon (3-1). It marks the first-ever meeting between the Miners and the Ducks.

The game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet Northwest beginning at 8 p.m. Mountain time. The Miners are coming off a 53-35 loss to Stephen F. Austin on Saturday at the Don Haskins Center. Following the encounter with the Ducks, UTEP will take a 12-day break between games for finals, and return to the court versus I-10 rival NM State on Dec. 11 in El Paso.

UTEP is facing a Pac-12 Conference opponent for the first time since falling to Oregon State, 81-73, in the championship game of the College Basketball Invitational on April 3, 2009 in the Haskins Center. The Miners are 117-157 all-time versus schools currently in the league (30-59 versus Arizona, 45-51 versus Arizona State, 4-2 versus Colorado, 2-3 versus Oregon State, 0-1 versus UCLA, 0-1 versus USC, 31-35 versus Utah, 4-3 versus Washington, 1-2 versus Washington State), including 36-96 on the road. UTEP’s last road win over a Pac-12 opponent came in the 2000-01 opener at Washington, 73-61.

The Miners are starting fresh this season with nine newcomers, including a Division I transfer (junior guard Jacques Streeter), a junior college transfer (junior forward Malcolm Moore) 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 Ducks have been idle since winning at Nebraska, 83-76, last Wednesday. It was Oregon’s third straight victory after opening the campaign with a 78-64 setback at Vanderbilt.

Oregon is led by senior guard Garrett Sim and junior forward E.J. Singler, who average 14.0 and 12.8 ppg respectively. Singler is the younger brother of former Duke star Kyle Singler.

Oregon shoots well from the field (.481), with its top five scorers (Sim, Singler, Olu Ashaolu, Tony Woods, Tyrone Nared) hitting 59.5 percent of their shots (69-of-116) collectively. The Ducks have also shot 118 free throws to their opponents’ 90.

The Ducks play in Matthew Knight Arena, which opened on Jan. 13 of this year. They have posted an 11-3 record in the $227 million facility, including a 5-0 mark in last season’s College Basketball Invitational. The Ducks won the postseason event, beating Creighton in three games in the finals.

Oregon is 2-0 at home this season with wins over Eastern Washington (73-65) and Southeast Missouri State (86-61).

UTEP’s Tim Floyd is certainly familiar with the Ducks, having served as the head coach at USC for four seasons (2005-09). Floyd’s all-time record when coaching against Oregon is 7-2 (3-1 home/4-0 away/0-1 neutral site), all with the Trojans. Floyd’s unblemished mark in Eugene includes four games at the Ducks’ former home arena, MacArthur Court. Two of the games were decided by six points or less and another was a nine-point decision in overtime.

Floyd and Oregon’s Dana Altman have coached against one another once previously. Floyd’s Iowa State Cyclones handed Altman’s Creighton Blue Jays a 70-52 loss in Omaha, Neb. on Jan. 18, 1995.

UTEP will play its next three games versus teams (Oregon, NM State, UNLV) with a combined record of 15-2 entering the week. UNLV is 7-0 and coming off a 90-80 win over top-ranked North Carolina on Saturday. The Runnin’ Rebels will host the Miners on Dec. 14 after UTEP and NMSU hook up in game two of their I-10 rivalry series on Dec. 11 in the Haskins Center. The Aggies won the initial matchup in Las Cruces, 89-73, on Nov. 19.

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