The Prospector

Miners see their season crumble to an end in first-round loss to UTSA

Photo courtesy of Conference USA

Photo courtesy of Conference USA

Adrian Broaddus, Copy Editor

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Forty-five seconds was the longest time the UTSA Roadrunners allowed the Miners to lead the game, as they pulled away with a dominant 71-58 victory in the first round of the C-USA Tournament, thus ending UTEP’s season.

With the win, UTSA (19-13) swept the Miners (11-20) this season, using dominant play on the glass and holding UTEP to shooting just 37 percent (22-of-30) from the floor.

This is the first time the Miners failed to move on in the C-USA Tournament since 2009.

“You know, it’s really disappointing,” interim head coach Phil Johnson said in a release. “Obviously we played those guys twice in two tough games, kind of down to the last minute. And then for them to get away from us like they did was really disappointing. We didn’t rebound the ball very well at all and we really stressed it. But I’m proud of our guys. Listen, we won four of our last six coming into the game. We never gave up. We kept fighting. We had some tough losses at Old Dominion and other places. But I give our guys credit and all our coaches credit.”

From the start, UTSA had a grasp on the game, taking an early double-digit lead just 13 minutes into the game, as the Roadrunners led 30-18.

UTSA had a 39-29 lead going into the half, and built upon the lead early in the second. The Roadrunners had their largest lead of the night 10 minutes into the second half, with a 62-45 lead.

Although the Miners attempted a late comeback and trailed by 10 with seven minutes left in the game, the Roadrunners would separate from the Miners late in the stretch by using tough defense and easy rebounding. They beat the Miners on the glass 45-34 during the game.

A shining moment for the Miners, however, was the career-high moment from freshman guard Evan Gilyard, who totaled 29 points for the Miners.

“He has the heart of a lion,” Johnson said. “Whoever coaches him next year and for the rest of his career has got a heck of a point guard. He showed it again tonight and I’m really proud of him. I’m proud of all of our team for not giving up all year. We had a really tough stretch there, we played tough teams and we didn’t check it in. That’s what I’m proud of. And I thought we were hard to play. Tonight was really not indicative of what we have been doing the last three weeks. We didn’t defend or rebound the way we have been.”

Following Gilyard was senior guard Omega Harris with 12 points and Trey Wade, who had a double-double performance including 10 points and 10 boards. Harris’ outing allowed him to finish his UTEP career ranked second in program history in three-point field goals (174), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.388), ninth in scoring (1,407 points) and 10th in steals (126).

Leading the way for the Roadrunners were Deon Lyle with 18 points and Byron Frohnen with 14 points and 14 rebounds.

“They’re real fast, they seem like they made everything early,” Johnson said. “Frohnen was throwing in some teardrops and floaters from everywhere. We were helping off of Frohnen and he really got us early. And then Lyle got going late, particularly in the second half. We wanted to attack the zone with a lot of the sets and basic movement and motion and get it down low to Matt. It just didn’t work out. We missed some open shots and probably took some ill-advised shots.”

UTSA will take on fourth-seeded Marshall tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. MT in Frisco, Texas, for the second round of the C-USA Tournament.

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Miners see their season crumble to an end in first-round loss to UTSA