EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Winning on the road has been a tough task to accomplish for UTEP men’s basketball (6-2, 0-0 Conference USA) so far this regular season.

The Miners’ only two losses came away from the Don Haskins Center. The first loss came in the regular season opener when UTEP played and lost to a nationally ranked Texas team at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas on Nov. 7. The second loss came when UTEP suffered a 25-point loss to New Mexico State at the Pan American Center on Nov. 30.

“In the previous road games against New Mexico State and Texas, the atmosphere was a lot different,” UTEP sophomore forward Ze’Rik Onyema said. “We need to lock into the game, stay focused, and do what we do best and play defense.”

“It is tough on the road. You have to have a different mentality. You have to really be locked in and stick together,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “You are going to handle adversity on the road, and you have to handle it the right way. When you go back to the New Mexico State game, it was a four-point game with three minutes to go in the first half and then we let it get away from us, so you have to do a better job in those moments when not everything is going to go your way.”

UTEP will play their third road game of the 2022-3 season on Saturday, and they’ll aim to grab their first away game win against DePaul (5-4, 0-1 Big East).

“Obviously a team in a Power-5 conference, the Big East, but it is a great opportunity for us to play on national television and a chance to brand our program.” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said.

UTEP will face a DePaul team that has had its ups and downs recently. DePaul has won two of its last six games. Both those victories came in games that went into overtime. The Blue Demons had their first taste of Big East play on Wednesday night when they took on St. Johns and lost 86-67.

DePaul is led by the duo of Javan Johnson and Umoja Gibson. Johnson is averaging 17.6 points per game and Gibson is averaging 15.8 points per game. Gibson is also one of the best distributors in the NCAA, as he averages 6.3 assists per game, which is the eighth best in the nation. The three-pointer will also be a threat UTEP will face. The Blue Demons make 8.9 three-pointers per game and a clip of 34.5 percent.

The three-ball is something UTEP is hoping to cut out of DePaul’s game after seeing how bad the three-point shot hurt the Miners when they faced New Mexico State on Nov. 30.

“They are very similar to New Mexico State. They put out a lot of guys on the floor that can shoot the basketball,” Golding said. “If we guard it [three-point shot] like we did at New Mexico State, we’ll get bear by 20 again. If we can lock down and do a better job of guarding the three-point line, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

Before New Mexico State made 12 three-pointers against UTEP on Nov. 30, the Miners were guarding the three-point line very well. Right now, UTEP has held opponents to making 5.6 threes per game at a 29.2 percentage. UTEP is averaging 9.9 steals per game, which is tied for the 22nd in the NCAA.

Defense will be a major key for UTEP to boost their chances at a win over DePaul. On offense, the Miners are led by Tae Hardy (12.9 PPG) and Mario McKinney Jr. (11.8 PPG). Shamar Givance and Ze’Rik Onyema are both averaging 8.5 points per game. UTEP puts up an average of 74.1 points per game as a team with a 46.8 field goal percentage.

UTEP and DePaul will face off on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. Tipoff is at 4:30 p.m. MT. This is UTEP’s first nationally televised game this season as it will air on FS1.