Florida Atlantic’s Anthony Adger scored a game-high 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting from three-point range and the Owls (14-10, 5-6 Conference USA) took care of UTEP (7-15, 2-9 C-USA), 61-48 on Thursday night in the Haskins Center.
The story was FAU, which shot 13-for-26 from beyond the arc, while the Miners turned the ball over 15 times and shot 28.3 percent from the field.
“When you’re not making shots you really have to try and defend hard, and you have to try and take away what the other team does really well,” first-year UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said. “We knew coming into this game that these guys were a really good shooting team. We let one guy get off to a great start, and when you do that with a guy who is their leading scorer, and you let him get comfortable then the basket becomes a really big basket for him.”
Nigel Hawkins led the Miners with 12 points, the only double-digit scorer and Efe Odigie pulled down 10 rebounds and chipped in with seven points. Paul Thomas and Jordan Lathon each added eight points and combined for nine rebounds. Lathon led the team with a pair of blocked shots.
After being down 14 points, the Miners climbed back to within six points (42-36) at the 12:13 mark on an Evan Gilyard made a jumper. But the Owls kept hitting treys during the second period to keep the score in double figures for the majority of the half.
Gilyard, after coming off the bench the previous two games, made his 17th start of the season and scored four points. He didn’t connect on a three pointer for the first time in 17 games.
UTEP outrebounded Florida Atlantic, 38-37, and recorded four blocked shots. Kobe Magee came off the bench and scored five points with four rebounds in 36 minutes. Kaosi Ezeagu recorded four points, three rebounds and a blocked shot.
During the first period, FAU connected on 7-of-15 from beyond the arc, while taking an 11-point lead a trio of times, including a 30-19 lead at halftime. Adger led the way with 11 points on a 3-of-6 shooting from three-point range.
After being down 15-4, the Miners cut that deficit to five points (17-12) after Odigie and Lathon connected on back-to-back buckets, Magee nailed a three and a Hawkins’s made free throw.
The Miners committed eight turnovers and only shot 23.1 percent during the first half.
The Miners will host FIU on Saturday, as tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday’s contest will feature the Block Cancer initiative, in which The Mike Slive Foundation partnered with C-USA and UTEP. The Miners will wear blue Block Cancer t-shirts in pregame, while coach Terry will wear a special blue tie. During the game, fans will see signage and videos that focus on increasing awareness for prostate cancer. Fans will also have the opportunity to donate by texting GIVE to (855) 662-2996, or online at mikeslivefoundation.org.