Men’s basketball mounts a historic comeback

Calvin+Solomon+plays+offense+against+UTSA+player.+

Annabella Mireles

Calvin Solomon plays offense against UTSA player.

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor

After losing four straight games, the UTEP men’s basketball team (9-7, C-USA 2-3) finally managed a comeback win over Conference USA (C-USA) opponent the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) (7-10, C-USA 1-5). The Miners came back from a 14-point deficit early in the first half, the largest comeback under Head Coach Joe Golding. 

The Miners entered this match up coming off a 60-58 loss to LA Tech and two overtime losses against UAB and Rice. UTEP did not open strong allowing UTSA to take the lead early after going 19-5. In the first half, junior forward Jon Don Anjos was the only Miner to reach double digits, contributing 10 points. The Miners also struggled to score from field goal range, only completing 12 of 31 opportunities. UTEP defense did square up in the latter half of the period forcing several turnovers allowing the offense to score 17 points. The bench, specifically Dos Anjos, added 13 points to the score and dug the Miners out of the early hole.  

The score at halftime was 30-27, UTEP. 

The second half fared much better for UTEP after completing 13 of 25 from field goal range and dropping four three-pointers. The Miners also managed to outscore UTSA in key metrics such as points off turnovers, second chance points and past breaks. This half, junior guard Tae Hardy led the team in scoring with 10 points trialed closely by senior guard Shamar Givance with seven and junior guard Mario McKinney Jr. with six. The Miners defense kept UTSA under 50 percent in field goals allowing 30 points in the second half. Only one UTSA player, freshman guard DJ Richards, scored double figures at 10. 

The final score was 69-57, UTEP. 

Hardy, Givance and Dos Anjos scored double figures against UTSA combining for a total of 37 points. Hardy led the team with 15 points and junior forward Calvin Solomon led the team in rebounds with nine. UTEP finished the game with 26 points in the paint, 12 points off fast breaks, 35 points off turnovers and 24 points off the bench. The Miners limited UTSA as they only scored 20 points in the paint, two off fast breaks, nine points off turnovers and 13 points off the bench. 

“I give a lot of credit to UTSA,” Golding said postgame. “They had a great gameplan and jumped on us early. I subbed all five guys out and even though the score didn’t change, I thought those guys came in and gave us some energy. Then we were able to bring our starters back in and kind of get going a bit.” 

The Miners now head to Houston hoping to erase the New Year’s Eve loss to Rice (11-5, C-USA 2-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14 in the Tudor Fieldhouse. 

The Miners will be back in El Paso at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 at the Don Haskins Center to face Florida International University (8-8, C-USA 2-3). 

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