Men’s team hopes for first road win
February 9, 2016
UTEP will look to improve on the season and pile together three consecutive wins in Conference USA for the first time this season with their road trip to FIU (Feb. 11) and Florida Atlantic (Feb. 13). They are also fighting for their first road win this season (0-8 so far).
The Miners (13-11, 5-6 C-USA) are coming off a overtime win (90-83) over Western Kentucky on the same night that the 1966 Texas Western NCAA championship team was honored at the Don Haskins Center.
“One of the more memorable weekends in my career, and I’m glad that our fans and this great basketball town came out and supported it,” head coach Tim Floyd said.
The atmosphere really helped the Miners steal a win from Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers led by as many as 19 in the second half. With the help of the crowd, the Miners won their second in a row and improved to 5-6 in Conference USA.
“These are the crowds that I remember from the ‘80s–it’s what I remember,” Floyd said.. “It’s why I wanted to come back here.”
Although the Miners were able to secure an exciting game and honor the team that won the national championship, the Miners are still seeking their first road win of the season.
The Miners will not have the comfort of their home when they take on Florida International University (5-6 C-USA). The Miners’ biggest woes this season have come from away courts. During this season alone, five out of their six conference losses have come on the road.
“We’ve let a couple get away from the road, and that is the next challenge for our team– to see if we can go out on the road and secure a win,” Floyd said.
It is no question that teams are going to struggle on the road, but another reason for the lack of play on the road could be the plethora of young players on the program. The Miners this year are one of the younger teams in the NCAA.
“We are learning about our team every night out, and I want to remind our fans that we have 10 new guys,” Floyd said. “It’s taken us a while to figure out a lot of things about us,.”
FIU is not having a much better season than the Miners. They recently dropped four straight in Conference USA and are one game behind the Miners. FIU’s last win was against UTEP five games ago.
The Miners’ defense will have to adapt to the good offense of the Panthers. FIU’s record does not depict the picture of a stellar team, but they have caliber players that can run up the scoreboard quickly against the Miners.
FIU has three different shooters that have had great a great scoring year. Adrian Diaz, Donte McGill and Davlyon Draper all have around 15.6 points per game.
The Miners will have to play their best basketball if they hope to come back home with a win against FIU. Although FIU is a team that is in seventh place, they were able to go toe to toe with the second-best team in Conference USA, Middle Tennesse. FIU lost to the Blue Raiders by one point on the road against one of the better teams in the league.
UTEP has a chance to not only win another conference game, but also prove that this team has changed the overall momentum of their season.
Coach Floyd has confidence in his team, and given the roller coaster type year the Miners have had, he continues to be optimistic about the road ahead. He is adamant that the Miners have not been the only team to struggle this year and there is still plenty of basketball to be played this year.
“At the end of the day, we are not any different than any other team in Conference USA,” Floyd said. “We are all going to probably have to win the conference tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament.”
Juan Carlos Navarette may be reached at [email protected]