Texas-El Paso (17-6) at Old Dominion (11-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ted Constant Center (8,639) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: UTEP 12-3, ODU 7-4. Away Record: UTEP 4-1, ODU 4-6. Neutral Record: UTEP 1-2, ODU 0-0. Conference Record: UTEP 7-1, ODU 5-3. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Conference USA-leading Miners of Texas-El Paso travel to Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday to do battle with the Old Dominion Monarchs.
It wasn't pretty, but UTEP posted its seventh consecutive win on Thursday in a 58-47 triumph over East Carolina. The outcome moved the Miners to 3-0 on the road in conference play, the first time that has happened in 20 years.
C.J. Cooper netted 15 points, John Bohannon recorded a double-double with 12 and 14 rebounds, and Julian Washburn scored 14 points in the defensive-minded win. The 58 points marked the Miners' second-lowest scoring output of the season, but they held the Pirates to 35.4 percent shooting to come away victorious.
Defense has been UTEP's calling card so far, as it has held opponents to a league-best 37.9 percent shooting while yielding just 63.8 ppg.
The Miners have three active double-digit scorers that can contribute at any time. Washburn leads the way with 12.7 ppg and Vince Hunter in not far behind a 12.1. Bohannon tops the rebounding effort with 8.5 rpg to go with 10.7 ppg.
Old Dominion, meanwhile, had dropped three of four games before battling back to upend Texas-San Antonio in a 69-61 final on Thursday.
Aaron Bacote netted a game-high 22 points and the Monarchs also received 16 points courtesy of Keenan Palmore, who made all five of his shots from the floor. Jordan Baker provided a spark off the bench with 13 points, while Richard Ross tallied nine points and 10 rebounds.
After trailing by a single point at halftime, ODU improved to hit on 50 percent of its shots from the floor and also converted 20-of-27 attempts at the free-throw line after the break to pull out the win.
ODU's strength this season has come at the defensive end of the floor, as it allows opponents just 65.2 ppg. Unfortunately the team's offensive attack is more often than not less than equipped to support it, as it makes less than 43 percent from the field itself for a mere 64.9 ppg. It's also plagued by one of the nation's worst free-throw percentages (.607). Bacote leads the team with 17.0 ppg and hands out more than three assists per contest. Dimitri Batten (11.4 ppg), Palmore (11.2 ppg) and Ross (9.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) are also regular contributors.
ODU has held its own in its first year in Conference USA, and a win Saturday against the mighty Miners in the first-ever meeting between the programs would be quite a signature victory. UTEP will have something to say about that, however, and they'll do all the talking on the court.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas-El Paso 71, Old Dominion 65
02/08 10:36:27 ET