Scouting ODU: Miners host tough, defensive-minded team


UTEP will host one of Conference USA’s stingiest defensive teams as Old Dominion makes its way to the Sun City on Thursday (Jan. 24). The Miners and Monarchs are set to tipoff at 7 p.m. in the Haskins Center.


Tickets start at $8. UTEP student tickets are free and are available by visiting Discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more are also available.  Call 747-5234 for tickets.


UTEP (6-11, 1-5 C-USA) fell in its two contests last week after getting off to fast starts in both outings. The Miners led at the half in both games, but UAB came back to win 76-63 on Thursday, while Middle Tennessee squeaked out a 75-72 victory on Saturday. ODU (15-5, 5-2 C-USA) recently defeated Charlotte, 76-70, on Monday night. The Monarchs, after a 1-2 start in conference play, have won four consecutive games. 


“Old Dominion is a very good team with some older players, some of the best older players in this league,” first-year UTEP head coach Rodney Terry said. “Their point guard [Ahmad] Caver is a good player. He’s averaging 19 points a game, he gets rebounds and just does a lot for his team. [B.J.] Stith is also one of the top players in the league. He’s a preseason all-league guy who will play at the next level. Their two seniors are good players. [Old Dominion] Coach [Jeff] Jones does a good job and we had a chance to compete against him years ago [while at Fresno State] when he first got to Old Dominion and had a really good team. From that point on, his program has been very good every year. Once he was able to get [the program] established the way he wanted it, he’s got that thing going pretty good.”


Fans can listen live on KOFX 92.3 with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher and Steve Yellin. The Spanish broadcast can be heard on ESPN Deportes 1650AM with Omar Ropele and Abel Rodriguez. The contest will also be streamed on ESPN+ with Duke Keith (play-by-play) and former Miner Leonard Owens calling the action.


UTEP freshman Nigel Hawkins, who’s averaging 16.3 points in six league games, scored 17 points against the Blazers on a career night from three-point range (5-8), while leading the Miners with four assists. Hawkins followed with a 16-point effort versus the Blue Raiders as he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Hawkins has hit double figures in scoring during a career-best four straight games. He’s averaging 17.0 points during that span.


Jordan Lathon’s last-second effort from half court hit the rim at Middle Tennessee, coming up short to tie the ball game. Lathon registered his first career double-double after scoring 12 points and tying his career-best with 10 rebounds versus the Blue Raiders. Lathon also led the team with four assists.


Thursday’s contest will feature two of the league’s top double-double men in Efe Odigie and Stith. Each have recorded seven double doubles, tying for second in C-USA. Odigie is averaging 13.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest, while Stith, a 6-5 redshirt senior guard, is averaging a team-best 8.2 rebounds and is tied for first on the squad at 17.9 points per contest.  He scored 22 points during ODU’s win against Charlotte.


Coach Jones’s solid guard play continues with Caver. The 6-2 senior is averaging 17.9 points per game, while dishing out a team-high 106 assists with only 38 turnovers. Xavier Green, a 6-6 redshirt sophomore guard, averages 8.8 points per game, while recording 36 assists and 3.8 rebounds per contest.


The Monarchs rank first in C-USA in scoring defense (60.9 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.386). ODU ranks second in scoring margin (+7.4) and rebounds per game (39.1). Old Dominion’s blocked shots per game (4.6) ranks third in the league, while its 11.5 turnovers per contest are the second lowest in C-USA.


The Old Dominion game is Military Appreciation Night.  A dunk show will take place at halftime.  Plus, two lucky fans will shoot to win $1,000, courtesy of Oscar Arrieta’s All State Agency.


Coaches vs. Cancer is the week of Jan. 21-27 as the UTEP coaches will wear Suits and Sneakers on Jan. 24 and Jan. 26.


Following the game against ODU, UTEP will host Charlotte and one of C-USA’s top scorers Jon Davis on Jan. 26 with a 7 p.m. tipoff.

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