EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A pair of UTEP transfers made immediate impacts in UTEP’s 70-60 win over Texas Tech in Saturday’s exhibition game at the Don Haskins Center. LSU graduate transfer Daryl Edwards knocked down six three pointers and had a game-high 24 points, while Fresno State transfer Bryson Williams added 19 points in the win.
Texas Tech is coming off a national championship game appearance and head coach Chris Beard is one of the most respected head coaches in the sport. Following UTEP’s performance against his Red Raiders, Beard put all of Conference USA on notice.
“When I grew up, UTEP basketball was the basketball school in the state of Texas. I think that’s going to return sooner than later. You have a great coach,” said Beard. “Last year, he [Rodney Terry] obviously had a plan in building this team. He invested scholarships in sit out guys. This will be one of the best teams in this conference this year. You can remember I said that.”
The Miners finished last season 9-21, winning just three conference games and missing out on the Conference USA Tournament in Rodney Terry’s first year as head coach. Terry brought in seven Division I transfers over the course of last season and with all of them eligible to play in 2019-20, UTEP is quickly becoming a trendy pick in the conference and Saturday’s performance backed that up. The biggest difference as seen on Saturday night is depth. Terry has a lot of options and head coaches like options.
“We are going to try and play as many guys as we can,” said Terry. “We are trying to build depth and we are trying to build quality depth. It’s where when guys come in, we don’t have a drop off.”
Despite UTEP being the talk of the town and the hype surrounding this team, Terry and the Miners know there is a long ways to go and this team has to improve in a lot of areas.
“This is a good stepping stone for us. This is just the beginning. This season is going to be a marathon, not a sprint,” said Williams. “We just have to keep working hard, come out at practice everyday, compete against each other and just get each other better. The sky is the limit for us.”
“This is a first step in a marathon and the journey of a season for us. Whether we get off to a good start or a bad start, we have to learn how to work the game. We are playing October 12th, it feels like a regular season game already,” said Terry.
All proceeds from the game were donated to the GECU Foundation in support of the August 3 tragedy. Over 4,000 fans cheered on the Miners as they rallied from an eight-point deficit (33-25) early in the second half to get the win.
UTEP will open the season at home on Tuesday, November 5 against New Mexico Highlands. The Miners will then host Battle of I-10 rival New Mexico State the following Tuesday on November 12.