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Men’s basketball defeats NMSU Aggies in Battle of I-10 ls

Junior+guard+Corey+Camper+Jr.+attempts+a+shot+against+NMSU+senior+guard+Femi+Odukale.+
SalmaPaola Baca
Junior guard Corey Camper Jr. attempts a shot against NMSU senior guard Femi Odukale.

The UTEP Miners men’s basketball team (13-11, C-USA 4-5) defeated the NMSU Aggies (11-13, C-USA 5-4) in a landslide victory Feb. 10. NMSU did not take the lead throughout the game, giving the Miners the edge in front of over ten thousand fans. The Miners won with a 25-point gap over NMSU with a final score of 74-49. 

The first half began with a Miner possession, thanks to a successful tipoff by UTEP junior forward Kevin Kalu. The Miners would score 12 points in a row within the first five minutes, until NMSU junior guard Jaden Harris put up the first two points of the Aggies (12-2.) 

NMSU would go on a small streak of their own, until UTEP senior guard Tae Hardy scored two three-pointers in a row, suppressing NMSU’s efforts (18-7.) NMSU managed to get the game within six points of the Miners twice in the last few minutes of the first half, but the Miners would continue to widen their gap into the second half. 

UTEP senior guard Zid Powell put up the first three points of the second half, via a floating jump shot and a free throw, incurred from a shooting foul by Harris (38-27). NMSU was unable to hold the Miners at bay, as UTEP slowly pulled away for most of the second half. 

The Miners held a 27-point lead over NMSU with less than a minute remaining in the game, thanks to a turnaround jump shot made by UTEP junior forward Derick Hamilton. NMSU senior guard Tanahj Pettway put up the final two points of the game. 

NMSU head coach Jason Hooten did not have much to say regarding his team, as this was their biggest loss of the C-USA season. 

“I really and truly don’t have one positive thing to say about my team, and all I’m going to do is sit here and praise UTEP and Coach Golding and his team,” Hooten said.  

Hooten continued to talk about UTEP and the team’s performance, as the Miner defense was impenetrable, and the Miners continued to put up three-pointers all night long. 

“I think they made ten threes tonight, if they can make ten threes, my gosh, they got a chance to finish up in the top three or four in this league,” Hooten said. 

UTEP head coach Joe Golding was extremely appreciative towards the fans in attendance, as the energy in the Don Haskins Center can make for a completely different game dynamic. 

“I want to thank the crowd, I thought the crowd was incredible tonight. We’ve obviously been struggling to get a crowd, we’ve had it a couple of times and we’ve finally had some success with it,” Golding said. 

“When that place is like that, it’s magical man, it’s a really tough environment to play in, and again, we’re just trying to get it consistently, so I just want to thank our fanbase and our students, I thought they were tremendous.” 

Golding continued to give credit to the crowd, acknowledging UTEP basketball’s history with NMSU’s successful program. 

“I know people get sick of me saying it around here man, but that’s why this place was successful, we got to get it back, and they’ve had more success than us over the past decade, there’s no secret to that,” Golding said. “They’ve been to the NCAA tournaments, they’ve competed in the WAC at a high level, and they’ve won it, and they’ve had the crowd support. We’re trying to get our crowds back, and I think that was the start.” 

The Miners will be facing Western Kentucky University (WKU) in an away game Feb. 15, at 5:00 p.m. 

Nicholas Maes is the sports editor and may be reached at 

[email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Nicholas Maes
Nicholas Maes, Sports Editor
Nicholas Maes is a sports editor at 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.
SalmaPaola Baca
SalmaPaola Baca, 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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