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UTEP men’s basketball beats out Jax State Gamecocks in first-ever meeting

SalmaPaola Baca
Junior guard Corey Camper attempts a shot against JAX State junior forward Caleb Johnson.

Editor’s Note: This recap is not the most recent game for the UTEP Miners Men’s Basketball. 

The UTEP men’s basketball team (12-10, C-USA 3-4) finally returned to the Sun City after two straight back-to-back road losses versus Conference USA rivals LA Tech (16-6, C-USA 6-1) and Sam Houston (13-9, C-USA 6-1). 

Thursday’s matchup featured the Miners, who have only lost two home games this season, and the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (11-11, C-USA 3-4). 

The game started with the Miners going on a 10-0 run capped off by a three-pointer from junior forward Otis Frazier III. 

Gamecocks’ sophomore forward Mason Nicholson made a layup, finally putting up points for the visiting team three minutes into the first half. 

Jax State would manage to go on a 7-2 streak of their own late in the first half bringing the score within four points. 

Fortunately for the Miners, Jax State could not take the lead in the first as the halftime score favored UTEP 36-32. 

It was a very similar story in the second half of the game forthe Gamecocks.  The Miners managed to box out Jax State as there was no lead change during the entire game. 

The final score would sit at 79-71. 

Game leaders for the Gamecocks included graduate student guard KyKy Tandy, sophomore forward Mason Nicholson and junior guard Quincy Clark. 

Tandy led the team in points with 15 while also recording two rebounds and one assist. Nicholson, who fouled out in Thursday’s matchup, led the Gamecocks with a whopping nine rebounds and scored 13 points while also completing five of six field goals. Clark led his team in assists with four while also scoring double digit points with 12. 

Frazier III, junior forward Kevin Kalu and senior guard Zid Powell were UTEP’s game leaders against Jax State. 

Fraizer III led both teams in points with a total of 17 while also raking in four rebounds, two assists and a 100% completion percentage from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Kalu produced a team-high six rebounds and contributed six points. Powell led the Miners in assists with four while scoring seven points. 

The Miners bench also contributed 27 points with freshman guards Trey Horton and David Terrell Jr. leading the charge with 10 points each. 

After the game, UTEP coach Joe Golding accredited the Gamecocks’ effort on the courts. 

“Their guards are terrific, they have toughness one through five and their big kids are good,” Golding said. “We knew we weren’t going to run away with this thing. We had the 10-0 run (late) and from that point on we were able to secure the win. Our ball movement was really good. We made the right play, and that’s the reason we got five guys in double digits.” 

With this win, the Miners are currently undefeated at home in conference play. 

UTEP now faces off against C-USA favorite Liberty University (13-9, C-USA 2-5) at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Don Haskins Center. At the game, the 2003-04 NCAA Tournament team, who turned around a 6-24 season into a 24-8 season the following year and garnered an “At-Large” NCAA Tournament bid, will be honored. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela Armendariz is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram. 

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Contributor/Writer
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is a contributor for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and Chicano studies. Emmanuel served as sports editor at The Prospector and as a writer with Minero Magazine. Now, Emmanuel is interning at El Paso Matters and is a contributor at The Prospector.
SalmaPaola Baca
SalmaPaola Baca, Contributor/Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a senior at UTEP majoring in engineering innovation and leadership with a concentration and minor in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography enables her to be photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography. After graduating, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in architecture while working on her photography simultaneously.
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