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UTEP men’s basketball outlasts Eastern New Mexico

Gaby Velasquez

The UTEP men’s basketball team improved to 2-2 on the young season after a 66-59, win against the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds (1-4), Monday, Nov. 19, at the Don Haskins Center.

“We’ve got to be the hardest playing scrappiest team in the country in terms of how hard we have to play,” said head coach Rodney Terry.

UTEP opened up the game on a 14-4 run. The Greyhounds struggled to get things going offensively as they shot 23 percent from behind the arc. UTEP led throughout the first half scoring 20 points in the paint, and 11 points off turnovers. UTEP forced seven of Eastern New Mexico’s 15 turnovers in the first half.

In the second half, Eastern New Mexico was able to get their three-point shot to fall scoring back-to-back triples to open up the second half to cut the UTEP lead down to three. The Greyhounds would tie the game up at 36 after converting an and-one opportunity. Eastern New Mexico would take the lead after nailing two more free throws. Another three-pointer by the Greyhounds would give them their largest lead of the night by five. UTEP and Eastern New Mexico would exchange buckets till senior forward Paul Thomas nailed his only three-pointer to tie the game up at 47. Sophomore guard Evan Gilyard nailed down two free throw attempts to give UTEP the lead until the Greyhounds tied the game up at 57, but failed to make shots when they mattered most. The score was tied three times and the lead changed two times in the final 20 minutes of the game.

Gilyard notched his first career double-double with 29 points and 11 boards. Gilyard tied his career-high for points after scoring only four points in the loss against Arizona.

“I want it that game and then I wanted those rebounds,” Gilyard said. “Coach always harp on me, telling me you gotta get rebounds. We need guards to rebound the ball and I came and outrebounded the ball.”

Freshman forward Efe Odigie recorded his second consecutive double-double with a career-high 17 boards and 14 points in 31 minutes.

After the game, Odigie acknowledged the work he is putting in after practice to get his conditioning right to play more minutes for the Miners.

“They make sure after practice I get some extra conditioning,” Oldigie said. “Coach Terry made that a big thing on me so it just it just makes it easier the game like  I said run those extra sprints after practice just to give me an extra edge on the floor.”

Thomas was the other Miner with double-digits rebounds notching 10 and nine points, Thomas was the only Miner to foul out of the game. Thomas struggled from the field, shooting 3-for-12 and 1-for-6 from the three-point field. His one and only three proved to be pivotal for the Miners late in the game. 

UTEP outrebounded the Greyhounds, 50-35, no player for Eastern New Mexico had double-digit boards. UTEP did commit 20 turnovers, compared to 17 by the Greyhounds. UTEP out edged Eastern New Mexico 21-16 on points off turnovers.

“Taking care of the ball going to do a better job of taking care of the ball still,” Terry said. “That’s something we’ve placed an emphasis on every day in practice and we have to have better carryover in games.”

Sophomore guard Kobe Magee led all Miners with four assists, freshman guard Jordan Lathon and Oldigie tied for second on the team with three assists.

UTEP will be on the road when they face the New Mexico Lobos at the Pit on Saturday, Nov. 24.


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About the Contributors
Daniel Mendez, Staff reporter
Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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UTEP men’s basketball outlasts Eastern New Mexico