EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – The new look UTEP men’s basketball team will battle 2019 national runner-up Texas Tech in an exhibition game for a very special cause on Saturday, October 12 at the Don Haskins Center. All proceeds will be donated to the GECU Foundation in support of the victims of the El Paso mass shooting.
Tickets for the ‘El Paso Strong’ exhibition are $10 with general admission (first come/first served) seating. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“I’ve got great respect for Chris [Beard],” said UTEP head coach Rodney Terry. “He has done a phenomenal job. When you go up against his teams, you know that they’re going to be well prepared and defensive minded. We’re excited about facing one of the best teams in the country.”
The Miners return three of their top four scorers from the 2018-19 squad in sophomore forward Efe Odigie (12.7 ppg/10.1 rpg), sophomore guards Nigel Hawkins (12.6 ppg/4.5 rpg) and Jordan Lathon (10.9 ppg/5.0 rpg/2.7 apg). UTEP also introduces a heralded recruiting class that features Division I transfers Kaden Archie (TCU), Souley Boum (San Francisco), Daryl Edwards (LSU), Anthony Tarke (NJIT), Tydus Verhoeven (Duquesne) and Bryson Williams (Fresno State). UTEP has also added junior college big man Eric Vila.
Texas Tech is coming off a 31-7 campaign. The Red Raiders knocked off Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Michigan, Gonzaga and Michigan State en route to the NCAA Tournament title game, where they lost to Virginia 85-77 in overtime. Texas Tech has reloaded for the 2019-20 season by adding transfers Chris Clarke (Virginia Tech), T.J. Holyfield (Stephen F. Austin), Joel Ntambwe (UNLV) and a host of talented freshmen. The Red Raiders also return junior guard Davide Moretti, who averaged 11.5 points with 73 three pointers a year ago.
“It’s the start of a new season and there’s always a lot of buzz around a new team,” Terry said. “We’re excited about our guys, their work ethic and what they’re doing to prepare. We’re going to bring tremendous effort every night and we need El Paso to get behind us!”
UTEP will open the regular season on Tuesday, November 5 against New Mexico Highlands University. The Miners will then host rival New Mexico State on Tuesday, November 12.