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Miners skin Roadrunners on senior night

Charles Desouza
UTEP defeats UTSA 81-74 to move on to the Conference USA tournament.

Earvin Morris ended his senior season at the Don Haskins with a monstrous night – shooting nine-for-13 from the field, three 3-pointers and ending with 23 points in the Miners’ 81-74 victory over UTSA.

The Miners (18-13, 10-8 Conference USA) was 57 percent shooting from the floor, and shot nearly 70 percent from the floor in the second half. Also, they dominated from beyond the arc, hitting 64.7 percent from 3-point range.

“Phil Johnson really had to a number with these guys because I was sick this week,” head coach Tim Floyd said. “I thought our guys defensively on screen-and-roll coverage and staying between their man and the basket was better, which is a credit to our team trying to improve late in the year. Teams just aren’t competing this late in the year.”
Before the game, seniors were presented in front of the crowd for their last game at the Don Haskins Center. The seniors on the team include Morris, Victor Mbachu, Hooper Vint and Tevin Caldwell.

“When you start senior night, the guys looked nervous,” Floyd said. “They looked like they did something wrong and showed up to church. Everything is a little unusual on senior night and I thought we had a lot of those moments tonight.”
During the first half, both teams went back-and-forth trading off leads. The Roadrunners took command of the paint, scoring 10 points and taking 18 boards. Then, Omega Harris closed the half with a 3-pointer from the wing, which took the lead, 29-28.

“First 30 minutes of the game, we were really rusty offensively,” Floyd said. “We looked like a team that had put its emphasis on the defensive end, which we had”

In the second half, the Miners’ shooting game took control. Harris, Lee Moore and Dominic Artis combined for 28 points.

“I remain concerned when we shot the ball in the percentage we shot from the 3-point line and the percentage we shot from the floor, and we win by seven points,” Floyd said. “Means there’s things going on with your ball club.”

Even though their shooting in the second half was stellar, they could not hit well from the free throw line. They were 13 for 28 from the charity stripe and finished 50 percent for the game.

“We missed a lot of free throws,” Floyd said. “Maybe if we made more free throws, we’re not talking about other areas (that need improvement). Generally we should make 28-29 free throws, but tonight we did not.”

Through his last game, Earvin Morris reflects on his last game as a Miner.

“It’s been great, he (Floyd) is a great a real great guy and that’s what made it so much easier for me to make that commitment,” Morris said. “At the school I went to, it was hard to get to the D-1 level. Coach Floyd he just came in with a great mindset got me to a great spot and I’m glad I came here.”

Next up, the Miners will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to compete in the Conference USA tournament.

“We don’t who we will play yet,” Floyd said. “We are going to go there with spirit and try to play, but whomever we play against will do the same. When we made our plane reservations, we were 3-6 in our league. We have now won seven out of nine, so we don’t have to play the day earlier. “

Morris understands that in order to prosper in the tournament, the team will have to defend better.

“As long as we defend, I feel like we can score with anybody in the country, but just as long as we defend and rebound we definitely have a chance,” Morris said. “Hopefully we are going to get these wins in the conference tournament to make El Paso fans proud.”

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
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Miners skin Roadrunners on senior night