Two days after being edged out by the no. 1 defensive team in Conference USA, UTEP will host Charlotte on Saturday (Jan. 26) with a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Haskins Center.
The Miners (6-12, 1-6 Conference USA) fell by two points (50-48) to first-place Old Dominion on Thursday, while the 49ers (5-14, 2-6 C-USA) are coming off an 88-43 setback at UTSA.
Tickets start at $8. UTEP student tickets are free and are available by visiting studenttickets.utep.edu. Discounted tickets for groups of 15 or more are also available. Call 747-5234 for tickets.
Saturday’s game will feature a “90’s Night” theme and a Miners Got Talent halftime performance.
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 be streamed on CUSA.TV.
Saturday’s matchup will feature a pair of notable C-USA players as Charlotte boasts the second-leading scorer in the league. Senior guard Jon Davis averages 20.9 points per game, 4.6 boards per contest and leads the 49ers with 68 assists. UTEP’s Efe Odigie recorded his eighth double-double of the season, tying a 40-year old UTEP freshman record, after posting 13 points and 12 rebounds against a bigger Monarchs team. Odigie added three steals and six of his boards were of the offensive variety. Odigie ranks second in the league in double-doubles.
“[Charlotte] plays with a lot of energy on [the defensive] side of the floor,” UTEP coach Rodney Terry said. “Coach [Ron] Sanchez had an opportunity to work with Tony Bennett [Virginia Head Coach] the last seven or eight years. It’s a great defensive team and they’ll be another tough team to score against. Offensively, we’ll have to guard some Princeton actions. And anytime you go up against a scorer like Davis, you’ll have your hands full.”
The Miners (65.6 ppg) and 49ers (59.5 ppg) are ranked in the bottom two of C-USA in scoring, but have picked it up on the defensive end. UTEP (68.2 ppg) and Charlotte (68.3) rank no. 5 and 6, respectively, in the league in scoring defense. UTEP’s field goal percentage defense (41.6) ranks fifth, while Charlotte’s (42.8) ranks eighth.
The Miners fell behind by as many as 11 points (44-33) with 8:48 remaining in Thursday’s game versus ODU. UTEP battled back to tie the contest at 48-48 after Odigie connected on a pair of free throws with just over a minute remaining. But B.J. Stith made two free throws of his own and ODU came up with a clutch defensive stop to leave the Sun City with a two-point victory.
Charlotte shot 29.6 percent (16-54) at UTSA and only connected on 3-of-22 three-point buckets. Davis was held to 12 points as he shot 5-for-11 from the field, while missing all three of his three-point attempts. Jailan Haslem led the 49ers with eight rebounds, while scoring four points.