Men’s basketball flushes out competition at the Jim Forbes Classic

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Alberto Silva Fernandez

UTEP hosted the Jim Forbes Classic at the Don Haskins. Miners win against California State University Bakersfield,

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor

The UTEP men’s basketball team tipped off the inaugural Jim Forbes Classic against Alcorn State (5-1) Tuesday Nov. 22 at the Don Haskins Center. The UTEP Miners will host the Alcorn State Braves (3-3), California State University-Bakersfield (CSU-Bakersfield) (3-3) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (TAMU-Corpus) (4-3). The Miners will face off against CSU-Bakersfield at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 23 and against TAMCC at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25. 

The Classic is named after UTEP legend Jim Forbes. Forbes was selected to play for the 1972 United States Men’s Basketball Team during the Munich Olympics and was later drafted by the Chicago Bulls. He dedicated a large portion of his life to coaching Assisting Coach Don Haskins at UTEP while later coaching his own teams at Riverside High School and Andres High School. Forbes was inducted into the UTEP Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. 

The Miners are coming off a win against the Sul Ross Lobos. The Miners pummeled the Division III school 99-59. The Braves are coming off a tight win against Steven F. Austin University 69-60. 

The game officially tipped off at 7:02 p.m. Golding’s starters were junior guard Tae Hardy, senior guard Shamar Givance, junior forward Calvin Soloman, sophomore forward Ze’Rik Onyema and sophomore forward Otis Frazier III. 

At the half, the Miners were up 30-22 with Otis Frazier III leading the team with six points before leaving the game with an injury during the first half. UTEP dominated the paint dropped 20 points while going 44.4 percent in field goals. 

At the end of regulation, UTEP found itself tied  at 53-53. The Miners did great in the paint scoring 36 points but could not get anything going from a distance recording only one of 16 three-point attempts at the end of regulation. 

At end of the game, the Miners fought through two overtimes to come out victorious over the physical Alcorn State Braves. The final score was UTEP 73, Alcorn State 61. In the second overtime, the Miners outscored the Braves 14-2. Scoring leader Hardy noted 20 points after nearly 49 minutes of play. UTEP also struggled at the free-point line averaging only 51.2 percent. 

“It was two teams competing,” said Golding during the postgame press conference. “Neither team could shoot the ball. Free throws weren’t very good for either team, but both teams were competing. It was two really good defensive teams.” 

The following night, the Miners faced CSU-Bakersfield in another overtime match up. UTEP looked great to start the game shooting 15 of 27 in field goals while shooting 18 points from the paint. CSU-Bakersfield was held to only eight of 25 field goals and one of five past the three-point line. UTEP lead at the end of the first half 34-21. 

UTEP let go of its 13-point lead during the second half. CSU-Bakersfield outscored the Miners 34-21 after scoring 12 points from the paint and capitalizing off turnovers. In the second half, UTEP went nine of 22 field goals and struggled at the free point line, converting only two of seven attempts. The score at the end of regulation was 55-55. 

UTEP closed out the game after Givance took a trip to the free throw line. Down 67-66, Givance nailed both free throws giving the Miners the lead with three seconds left in overtime. CSU-Bakersfield could not score again giving the Miners the 68-67 win on day two of the Jim Forbes Classic. 

The Friday following Thanksgiving, the Miners faced TAMU-Corpus. Another strong start by the Miners allowed the team to jump out to a 37-26 lead at halftime. TAMU-Corpus completed only 28 percent of field goals and only nine percent of three-pointers. UTEP completed half of its field goals and dropped three three-pointers in the first half. 

Once again, UTEP allowed TAMU-Corpus to comeback in the second half. TAMU-Corpus outscored UTEP 41-35 in the second half after completing 15 of 32 field goals and scoring 12 points from past the three-point line. Fortunately for the Miners, TAMU-Corpus could not muster enough points to come out on top as the Miners won this game 72-67. 

After sweeping all three teams in the Jim Forbes Classic, the Miners have one five-straight. The only loss came from the season opener at UT Austin. Since then, UTEP has not lost a game at the Don Haskins. 

The Miners head to New Mexico for the in-season rematch of the Battle of I-10. The New Mexico State Aggies (NMSU) (1-1) are currently participating in the Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Miners will face off against NMSU at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. 

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