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UTEP men’s basketball bombs out the Hilltoppers

H. Catching Marginot
Forward Tae Hardy and Guard Trey Horton III sprint down the court in a race against the clock

The UTEP Miners (11-8, C-USA 2-2) won their second game in three days at the Don Haskins Center, winning against the WKU Hilltoppers (13-6, C-USA 2-3). This was by far one of the Miners’ closest games. The Miners persevered, winning the game by six points (93-87).  

With 15 ties and nine lead changes, this was a game that had Miner fans on the edge of their seats and standing in its final moments. Out of the 15 ties, 11 of them occurred in the second half. 

The Miners played an incredible game against WKU, who faced their second loss on the road in a row, following a loss by NMSU (9-10, C-USA 3-1) at the Pan Am Center Jan. 18. Despite the loss by only two points (72-70) WKU came to play against UTEP, as they didn’t go down without a fight. 

UTEP is still number one in forced turnovers in the NCAA, and the game against WKU was no exception, as the Hilltoppers held the upper hand for a good portion of the game. WKU held a lead over the Miners with less than six minutes left in the game, but the Miners forced 19 turnovers during the game, compared to WKU’s 17.  

However, senior guard Tae Hardy and junior guard Corey Camper Jr. reached career-high points made, with 27 and 19, respectively. Senior guard Zid Powell also hit double figures, with 17 points scored, proving that the Miners were putting in the work offensively. 

The Miners also made sure to hit the free throws, as 100% of the team’s free throws went in the basket during the first half. This, combined with the Miners’ relentless defense, made for a difficult game for WKU to handle. 

“The last five minutes we talked in the timeout that we had to buckle down and get some stops,” UTEP head coach Joe Golding said. “We’d been good all year on the defensive end, and they’re hard to guard. The keys for us were the three-point line, rebounding, and transition defense. Down the stretch, our guys made some championship plays and some tough plays that ultimately won the game.” 

Golding also credits the team’s ability to keep the wins going at home as another advantage for their win over WKU.

“We protected home floor, that’s the most important thing,” Golding said. “We’re early in this conference race. We’re four games in. If you look around the league, a lot of people are winning at home. We did our job. We protected home court, and now we have the opportunity next week to go out and play two road games and see if we can steal one on the road.”  

The Miners will be heading to Ruston, Louisiana to face LA Tech on Jan. 26. in their fifth game of the C-USA season. 

Nicholas Maes is the sports editor and may be reached at [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.
H. Catching Marginot
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
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