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Aggies sweep I-10 series with 77-68 win over UTEP

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Aaron Montes / The Prospector

 

For the first time in 14 years the UTEP Miners men’s basketball team has lost three straight games to their rival New Mexico State. In front of a crowd of over 11,000 people, the Aggies defeated the Miners 77-68, at the Don Haskins Center._MG_1694

Head coach Tim Floyd was congratulatory after the game, simply saying New Mexico State was the better team.

“We were just outplayed, that’s all you can say,” Floyd said. “There guards dominated the game just like in Las Cruces. They were better than us in all areas, the only positive is that we rebounded better, other than that congratulations to the Aggies, they just whooped us tonight.”

Aggies head coach Marvin Menzies said he was ecstatic with the sweep of the Miners, but gave the credit to his players.

“I’m happy, we played really well tonight,” Menzies said. “Defensively, I thought we were phenomenal especially in the first half. I thought we did a good job on Julian (Washburn) who is always a focus for us, he’s such a great player that he requires all of our attention.”

Junior forward Cedrick Lang led the Miners with a double-double, putting up 21 and 10 rebounds. Fifth-year senior guard Justin Crosgile contributed 11 points off the bench and with his and Lang’s play kept the Miners in the first half.

“We played hard to the end,” Crosgile said. “I think we fought our way through and did a much better job as far as bringing energy. They just came out and played harder than us, and they had more winning plays than we did at the end of the day.”

The New Mexico State backcourt of K.C. Ross-Miller and Daniel Mullings led the Aggie attack combing for 43 points and 10 assists. Statistically the Miners and Aggies were very similar except for two key stats, field goal percentage and free throw attempts. The Miners shot 34.6 percent in the first half compared to the Aggies 50 percent shooting. Then in the second half the Aggies shot 19 more free throws than the Miners 37 to 18.

In the first half the Miners had trouble against the New Mexico State zone defense and for the start of the first half down by seven points. At the end of the first half though the Miners got back into the game and at one point took the lead.

In the second half though the Aggies immediately took control as the Miners trailed the whole second half, and spent the last eight minutes of the game unintentionally and intentionally fouling the Aggies trying to get back in the game.

“When we saw that they changed their line up for the second half, we changed our plan played zone and full court press, it was a last minute decision based on the personnel that they had,” Menzies said.

The Miners are now 3-2, suffered their first home loss this season. UTEP will now head to the Bahamas to play in Battle 4 Atlantis, which is one of the biggest college basketball tournaments in the nation. The Miners will be in Paradise Island on the Nov. 28 to start the tournament facing the Tennessee Volunteers. The Miners will return home until Dec. 7, when they host the Sacramento State Hornets.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected].

 

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Aggies sweep I-10 series with 77-68 win over UTEP