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Miners lose at home to No. 24 FAU

Joel Molina
Guard Mario McKinney Jr dribbles the ball along the baseline during the game against FAU.

UTEP men’s basketball team (11-9, 4-5 Conference USA) was defeated by No. 24 Florida Atlantic Owls at the Don Haskins Center Saturday, Jan. 21, with a final score of 67-59.  

FAU got off to a fast start in the first half by going on a 10-0 run in the first five minutes with the help of six turnovers by the Miners. FAU continued its streak by adding two more points. UTEP was finally able to get on the board with five points made by junior forward Calvin Solomon, bringing the deficit down to seven. The Owls brought the deficit back up to 12 after going on a 5-0 run of its own. Sophomore guard Carlos Lemus put up two points for the Miners to bring it down to six, 28-22. FAU went on a 7-0 run to make it a 13-point game going into the locker room.  

At the half, the score was 37-24. 

Coming back from the half the Owls were up by 15, but UTEP was able to put up six straight points to bring the score down to nine with the help of an offensive rebound by sophomore forward Otis Frazier III. FAU brought the score differential back to 15 after a three-pointer, which led then to an 8-2 run. With 3:01 left in the game the Miners trailed the Owls by 13. The Miners continued to push after junior guard Tae Hardy and junior guard Mario McKinney Jr. each scored to bring the deficit down to single digits. However, the Miners were unable to make a comeback as FAU came out victorious. 

Final score was 67-59. 

“I’m sorry to the crowd, I thought our crowd was terrific tonight,” said UTEP Head Coach Joe Golding in a post-game interview. “They showed up and represented UTEP and El Paso. We’ve got to play better in these types of games, and we will as we continue to build this thing. I apologized to our team after the game. We’ve been aggressive all year, since day one in the summer with these guys, and we switched it up probably in the first 25 to 30 minutes of the game. The last 10 minutes of game we got back to who we are, and it was a lot better.” 

Despite the loss, the Miners were successful when it came to rebounds against the Owls, who are the current leaders in Conference USA in rebounding. UTEP shot 30.8 percent from the floor along with 18.8 percent from the three-point line.  

The leading scorers for the Miners were Frazier III with six points and eight rebounds, Hardy who finished with 16 points, McKinney Jr. who came off the bench and recorded 11 points and seven rebounds and lastly Solomon with a season high of 16 points, 10 rebounds and his second double-double of the season. 

“Our guys were connected, there was good energy on the bench,” Golding said. “It would have been real easy to get negative with everything that was going on. I’m proud of our team for that. I’m disappointed with the way we played, but again that’s on me. Our effort was there tonight.” 

The Miners hit the road to take on North Texas in Denton at 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.  

All stats and quotes for UTEP courtesy of UTEP Athletics, 

Katrina Villarreal is the multimedia editor and may be reached at [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
Joel Molina, Photographer
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a staff photographer who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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Miners lose at home to No. 24 FAU