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UTEP men’s basketball season recap

UTEP men’s basketball ended its season in a Conference USA Tournament first-round 73-67 loss against Western Kentucky Wednesday, March 8. (Annabella Mireles)

UTEP men’s basketball (14-18, 7-13 C-USA) had a tough 2022-2023 season, that unfortunately ended in a Conference USA Tournament first-round 73-67 loss against Western Kentucky Wednesday, March 8. Although the Miners had a nail-biting ending, it is safe to say that the season overall did have its ups and downs. 

UTEP began its season in November with a loss against the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns 72-57, but this did not deter the Miners, as the team proceeded to go on a five-game winning streak, an extremely strong start to the season. The game that began this streak was the Battle of I-10, which took place Nov. 12 at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners played a tight game, only winning by three against New Mexico State University (NMSU) 67-64. 

This streak was stumped ironically by NMSU, as the Aggies came back for revenge defeating the Miners by 25 points at the Pan Am Center 95-70, a much larger gap than the previous three games. After this loss, the Miners were on and off throughout the season, but never went down without a fight. 

The Miners saw seven tough games in December, winning only three. It is important to note that all three games took place at Don Haskins. Two of the four losing games were played on the road as the Miners struggled against the competition. 

The team’s closest game, perhaps of the season, was against Kent State. Playing at the Don Haskins Dec. 22, the Miners lost by one point 47-46. The Miners did beat Kent State in points scored during the second half, but it was not enough to topple the Golden Flashes, who outscored the Miners in the first half. 

The first game in January was another loss for the Miners, but like Kent State, this game against LA Tech was only a two-point loss (58-60). The next game up against UTSA was a win the Miners needed, winning 69-57 against the Roadrunners. Rice was not an easy opponent for the Miners, as UTEP took another one-point loss 83-82.  

UTEP had a brief two-game winning streak, against Charlotte 60-58 Jan. 16, then defeating Florida International University only three days later by a whopping twenty points at the Don Haskins. The streak ended when the Miners took on Florida Atlantic, losing by eight points. The Miners did not go down without a fight, as they scored five more than the Owls in the second half. 

This loss against Florida Atlantic would mark the beginning of a five-game losing streak for the Miners, which carried over into February. One of these losses was against Western Kentucky after going down 69-74. This loss would be the cause of the Miners’ demise in the C-USA tournament a little over a month later. 

UTEP faced off against UTSA once again, defeating the Roadrunner by eleven points in a 77-66 game. The Miners took another loss against UA-Birmingham Feb. 16,79-66. These two teams had previously faced off Dec. 29, although the loss gap was larger in the later game. 

Out of the final five regular season games, the Miners only won two, against FIU and Middle Tennessee (MT). The game against MT was the Miners’ last game of the regular season, so it was a bittersweet ending to a tough season. 

Although the Miners began the season with a strong start, they had difficulty maintaining consistency throughout the duration of the season. The short winning streaks simply were not enough for UTEP to compete against hard-hitting schools like Western Kentucky, who dealt a total of three losses to the Miners. Although it was a tough season, it is hard to ignore what next season has to offer for the Miner nation. 

Nicholas Maes may be reached [email protected] 

 

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About the Contributors
Nicholas Maes
Nicholas Maes, Editor-in-Chief
Nicholas Maes is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in history with a minor in commercial music. He plans to continue his academic career in history after earning his bachelor's degree.
Annabella Mireles
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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UTEP men’s basketball season recap