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Miners rout Western New Mexico as they approach the start of the season

Gaby Velasquez

Five UTEP players scored double-digits in the Miners’ final tune-up before opening the season a week from Friday against Louisiana College.

This Friday however, the opponent was Western New Mexico who was dispatched by a final score of 98-50. Freshman forward Trey Wade led all scorers with 19 points. Head coach Tim Floyd was very happy with what he saw from Wade in his team’s final exhibition game.

“He’s a conscientious young man and he’s trying to do exactly what we want him to do,” Floyd said following the game. “He can get the ball in the basket.”

The true star of the night may have been graduate transfer Keith Frazier, who scored 17 points while pulling down 12 rebounds. Frazier made four of the Miners’ eleven three-pointers on the night.

Last season, UTEP made 5.6 three-pointers per game which ranked them No. 313 in the nation in three-pointers per game average.

Floyd said after the game that perhaps even bigger things can be expected from the former High School All-American Frazier.

“Keith Frazier really hasn’t played in two and a half years – just gets a little better every single day,” Floyd said. “He started practicing with us two and a half weeks ago and you can see some flashes of why he was a McDonald’s All-American. He can just get the ball in the basket.”

Senior center Matt Willms scored 15 and added seven rebounds against the Mustangs, whose tallest player was 6’9”. Willms said after the game that he is looking forward to the start of the season and stiffer competition.

“I love playing bigger guys. Usually when I think of a center, I think of someone that’s at least 6’9” or above,” Willms said. “Honestly, when we play bigger guys, it’s more of a challenge. They know what I do and I know what they do, so it’s going to be a better challenge for all of us.”

Next Friday’s opponent, Louisiana College, has a 6’9” forward. The next tallest player is 6’5”.

Forward Paul Thomas had a very quiet 12 points on Friday and four assists. The next leading scorer was freshman guard Isiah Osborne. The 6’5” guard scored 11, with two three pointers and an emphatic dunk to round out the victory as time expired.

“It’s nice to get in the game and get to play with my teammates. It’s nice to get back in the flow,” Osborne said, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.

Largely absent from the scoring was senior guard Omega Harris, who ended the night with just seven points. In the second half, Harris spent a large part of his time at the end of the bench having his lower back worked on by the UTEP team trainer.

Following the game, Floyd said that he is worried about Harris and that the team is trying everything to have him ready in time for the start of the season.

“Right now it’s got me concerned. It tightened up on him again tonight. We’ve held him out of about five practices,” Floyd said. “We started him on yoga with the hopes that that’ll help a little bit.”

The team will have Saturday off before practicing twice on Sunday.

Louisiana College and UTEP tip-off at the Don Haskins Center at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10.

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Miners rout Western New Mexico as they approach the start of the season