Lone Star tipoff in Austin


The UTEP Miners men’s basketball team faced a 72-57 loss against the University of Texas at Austin Nov. 7 at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas. Photo courtesy of UTEP Strategic Communications.

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor

UTEP men’s basketball team started its long-awaited season against No. 12 University of Texas at Austin (Texas). The season opener took place Nov. 7, at the brand-new Moody Center in Austin, Texas and ended with a final score of 72-57 in favor of the Texas Longhorns. 

UTEP is 75-26 in season openers prior to this match ups and has won 10 of the last 10 season-openers. The 2022-23 C-USA Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll currently has UTEP sitting middle of the pack for season standings. 

The UTEP Miners competed out of the gate holding Texas to only a field goal percentage of 47.83, 33.33 percent in three-point percentage, and only 33 points in the first half. The struggle, however, was on the offensive side of the ball. UTEP only managed to score 42.86 percent of field goals and went zero for four in three-pointers. 

The second half fared much worse for the team when the Miners only mustered 38 percent of field goals and 61 percent of free throws. Texas came out with a field goal percentage of 63.16 and 82.35 percent in free throws. At the end of the game, UTEP completed 40.4 percent of field goals and 33.3 percent of three-pointers. The Miners allowed 54.8 percent of field goals and 72 points.  

Texas sophomore guard Tyrese Hunter led the Longhorns in scoring after pouring in 18 points in 31 minutes of play. Senior guard Sir’Jabari Rice led Texas with six rebounds. For the Miners, sophomore forward Ze’Rik Onyema led in points with only 10 and senior guard Shamar Givance was on the court for 37 minutes of play. 

Despite the adversity, Head Coach Joe Golding expressed some silver linings after the defeat. 

“I thought we did a good job of driving to the basket and cutting to the basket, we just couldn’t finish at times,” Golding said. “I like our physicality and toughness. We had five turnovers in the second half, that’s a positive for us moving forward. We faced adversity and had to play guys a lot of minutes due to foul trouble. We didn’t break, it was an eight-point game with seven minutes to go. It just didn’t go our way.” 

UTEP now heads back to the Sun City for its “915 Night” game against I-10 rival New Mexico State University at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Don Haskins Center. Free tickets for the “915 Game” are available for students via Ticketmaster. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram.