Texas-El Paso (14-11) at New Mexico State (18-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pan American Center (12,482) -- Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Television: AggieVision, ESPN3.com. Home Record: UTEP 12-2, NMSU 12-1. Away
Record: UTEP 2-6, NMSU 6-7. Neutral Record: UTEP 0-3, NMSU 0-1. Conference
Record: UTEP 7-5, NMSU 12-3. Series Record: New Mexico State leads, 103-100.
GAME NOTES: Rivals along the I-10 take a break from their respective
conference schedules on Saturday night, as the New Mexico State Aggies host
the Miners of Texas-El Paso at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces.
New Mexico State, which enters the weekend in third place in the Western
Athletic Conference standings with a record of 12-3, is hoping to bounce back
from a disappointing 73-69 road loss to Utah State last weekend. The defeat
snapped what had been a lengthy 12-game win streak for NMSU.
As for the Miners, they too suffered through their weakest offensive effort of
2012-13 on Wednesday night when they bowed to Southern Miss on the road in a
45-39 final. The setback was the third in four games for UTEP, which is now
7-5 against the rest of Conference USA.
The Miners won the first meeting of the season at home by a slim 55-54 final
back in November, but still that leaves UTEP trailing in the all-time series
by a count of 103-100 according to NMSU records.
For the second time this season the Miners went out on the road and held an
opponent to just 45 points, but again the team came up with the loss after
having it happen at Tulsa last month. This time, Southern Miss was limited to
just 33.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 5-of-22 beyond the arc,
but at the same time UTEP shot only 30.0 percent from the field and 4-of-26 on
the outside. McKenzie Moore put together a double-double for the visitors with
12 points and 11 rebounds, but it wasn't enough of an effort.
Over the last five games the Miners have had a different leading scorer each
time out, but overall that distinction still goes to Julian Washburn who has
tallied 11.9 ppg in spite of his awful 5-of-37 showing beyond the arc. Konner
Tucker (11.6 ppg) and John Bohannon (10.7 ppg) are also key figures for the
team as they generate 63.4 ppg. Obviously this is a team not built on offense,
rather it is the defense that has kept the Miners competitive by holding foes
to 61.3 ppg.
New Mexico State was the team on a roll heading into the meeting with Utah
State on the road in Logan last weekend, but the Aggies fell behind early and
never fully recovered as they suffered the four-point loss. Granted, NMSU did
erase 10 points of its deficit down the stretch, but the visitors only shot
37.9 percent from the floor and 2-of-8 beyond the arc in the second half. Remi
Barry delivered 15 points off the bench for the Aggies, followed by Bandja Sy
with 12 and both Terrel de Rouen and Daniel Mullings with 11 points apiece in
Averaging 34 minutes per game, Mullings is someone who likes to have his hands
in every facet of the game for NMSU. He not only leads the team in both
scoring (14.3 ppg) and assists (69), he is also first with 58 steals and is
responsible for 5.2 rpg for a team that is clearing 38.1 rpg and beating
opponents on the glass by more than six rebounds per game at the moment.
Bandja (11.3 ppg) and Sim Bhullar (10.1 ppg) combine for another 13.3 ppg as
The Miners will be aiming to make this a halfcourt game and that might work in
favor of NMSU which will be camped out in the lane waiting for any and all
missed shots. Expect a controlled game, one that will have the Aggies on top
at the end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 62, Texas-El Paso 55
02/23 10:35:08 ET
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