UTEP men’s basketball upsets Texas Tech in exhibition charity game

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UTEP men’s basketball upsets Texas Tech in exhibition charity game

The UTEP men's basketball defeated Texas Tech 70-60 in a exhibition game Saturday Oct. 5 at the Don Haskins Center.

The UTEP men's basketball defeated Texas Tech 70-60 in a exhibition game Saturday Oct. 5 at the Don Haskins Center.

Isaiah Ramirez

The UTEP men's basketball defeated Texas Tech 70-60 in a exhibition game Saturday Oct. 5 at the Don Haskins Center.

Isaiah Ramirez

Isaiah Ramirez

The UTEP men's basketball defeated Texas Tech 70-60 in a exhibition game Saturday Oct. 5 at the Don Haskins Center.

Isaiah Ramirez, Reporter

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Lots of expectations were set for the 2019-2020 UTEP men’s basketball team and Miner fans got an up-close look at these talented Miners, as UTEP defeated the 2019 national runner-up 70-60 in an exhibition game at the Don Haskins Center. The game’s proceeds are to benefit the victims of the Walmart mass shooting. 

“When you talk about elite level programs, you’re talking about Texas Tech, those guys know how to win and compete,” UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry said.  

In year two of the Terry era comes a plethora of Division I transfers, with many of them sitting out last season due to transfer rules. Those highly touted Miners showcased what they bring to the table against the Red Raiders.  

Redshirt junior forward Bryson Williams started off the game with a monstrous and-one dunk for the Miners, which set the tone for an intense matchup between the Miners and Texas Tech. Williams was an athletic presence on both ends of the floor finishing the game with 19 points, nine rebounds and one block. The Fresno State transfer formed a solid tandem with LSU grad transfer and guard Daryl Edwards.   

Edwards and Williams combined for 43 points, while Edwards was lights out from three-point land for the Miners shooting 6-of-8 from three and led all scorers with 24 points.  

“I just wanted to win as a team and bring something great to the community and play with one of my best friends right here in Bryson Williams,” Edwards said.  

It was not just the transfers for UTEP that shined against Texas Tech. A returner from last year’s eight-win season, sophomore guard Jordan Lathon, was solid for the Miners.  

Lathon contributed 16 points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes played as a big part of the UTEP starting lineup. A talented guard from last season’s freshman core, Lathon made back-to-back three’s in the second half which put the Miners up 61-53 with 3:51 remaining in the game.  

UTEP, although the victor in this exhibition, had major issues with turnovers finishing with 22 for the game. Playing one of the best teams in the nation that stresses defense and the Miners having a vast group of new players learning to play with each other probably accounted for many of these issues.  

“We had 13 turnovers in the first half and we have to do a better job of taking care of the basketball, and we finished with 22 but early in the year you kind of expect that with guys getting familiar with each other,” Terry said.   

Freshman guard and first-ever five-star recruit in program history Jahmi’Us Ramsey knocked down three treys, finishing the game with 12 points and three boards for the Red Raiders.  

Texas Tech junior guard Davide Moretti who played significant minutes and was a playmaker for the Red Raiders in their deep NCAA tournament run last season, was held to eight points. 

The Miners generated tons of defensive pressure in the exhibition game holding Texas Tech to 31.4 percent shooting from the field and 26.9 percent from the three.  

“I give UTEP a lot of credit. They really guarded us, and we just couldn’t get easy looks at the basket tonight. That was some of the best defense we’ve seen in quite a while,” Texas Tech Head Coach Chris Beard said.  

The 2019 Associated Press National Coach of the Year provided thoughtful and encouraging words to the city of El Paso following Saturday’s game.  

“I just want to tell everybody here in El Paso that everybody in Lubbock, our program, our University, our athletic department, our community, are praying for all the victims of the tragedy that occurred here in El Paso,” Beard said.  

The atmosphere in the air was certainty electric and the 4,604 fans in attendance railed as a sixth man to this new-look Miner team, and UTEP nation, has a lot to look forward to this season.  

“We just wanted us to play hard and give the fans something to look forward to this season,” Williams said.  

UTEP fans can catch this revitalized men’s basketball squad in its season opener 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Don Haskins Center versus New Mexico Highlands.   

Isaiah Ramirez may be reached at [email protected] 

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