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Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 11:59am

UTEP and NMSU meet for 205th time Friday

KDBC
Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 12:56am

THE BASIC FACTS

UTEP (1-0) hits the road for the first time in 2013-14, playing I-10 rival NM State (0-0) on Friday at the Pan American Center.
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The Miners are attempting to start a season 2-0 for the first time since 2009-10. The last Tim Floyd-coached team to win its first two games was the 2008-09 USC Trojans. In fact, just one of Floyd’s last eight collegiate squads have opened a campaign 2-0, dating back to the 1997-98 season at Iowa State.
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NMSU has served as the Miners’ first road opponent in four of the last five years, the exception being a year ago when UTEP opened with no. 12 Arizona in Tucson. The Miners and Aggies split those four games.
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UTEP has lost its first road game in 11 of the last 15 seasons, including the 72-51 loss to the Wildcats. The Miners won their road opener during the 2000-01 (73-61 at Washington), 2004-05 (75-64 at NMSU), 2009-10 (79-58 at NMSU) and 2010-11 (74-72 at NMSU) campaigns.
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Friday’s game marks the earliest matchup be- tween UTEP and NMSU since the 1998-99 sea- son (Nov. 13), and the second-earliest ever.

TONIGHT’S OPPONENT
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The Aggies tipped off the season with three games at the Outrigger Hotels and Resorts Rainbow Classic Nov. 8-12 in Honolulu. NMSU lost to Western Michigan (70-64) and beat Tennessee State (70-55) and Hawai’i (95-88).
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The Aggies have four players with double figure scoring averages – junior guard Daniel Mullings (14.7 ppg), junior guard DK Eldridge (12.3 ppg), sophomore center Sim Bhullar (12.0 ppg) and junior center Tshilidzi Nephawe (11.0 ppg). Eldridge is a transfer from New Mexico Junior College. The 7-5, 360-pound Bhullar is also averaging 8.0 rebounds with seven blocked shots.
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The Aggies have outrebounded every team this season by at least 13 boards. NMSU has a rebound margin of +16.0 on the year.
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NMSU was 24-11 overall in 2012-13, 14-4 in the Western Athletic Conference and champion of the WAC Tournament, earning the league’s automatic bid to NCAAs.

SERIES NOTES
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This is the 206th meeting between the I-10 rivals, with NMSU leading the series 103-102.
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The Aggies are 56-40 versus the Miners in games played at Las Cruces, including 25-21 at the Pan American Center.
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UTEP and NMSU are beginning their two- game set in Las Cruces for the 18th time in the last 23 years. The rematch is scheduled for Nov. 23 in El Paso.
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UTEP’s last win in Las Cruces was on Nov. 30, 2010 (74-72); the Miners registered consecu- tive victories on the Aggies’ home floor during the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.
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One team has swept the season series in seven of the last 11 years. NMSU won both matchups during the 2002-03 and 2006-07 sea- sons, and the Miners swept the Aggies during the 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2010- 11 campaigns.
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Last year each team won on its home floor, with the Miners prevailing 55-54 at the Don Haskins Center and NMSU winning 55-51 at the Pan American Center. It marked the second consecutive season series split.
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It also marked the first time since 2001-02 that UTEP and NMSU played two games that were decided by four points or less. That year the Aggies won 73-71 in Las Cruces and the Miners were victorious 85-81 in overtime in El Paso.
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UTEP’s Tim Floyd is 5-2 when coaching against NMSU (4-2 at UTEP). Marvin Menzies was coach of the Aggies all seven times. Floyd’s USC Trojans, then ranked no. 19 in the nation, topped the Aggies on Nov. 18, 2008 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, 73-60.

THE LAST MEETING
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NM State outscored UTEP 16-3 in the final 7:05, rallying from a nine-point deficit to beat the Miners, 55-51, before a season-best home crowd of 10,729 on Feb. 23, 2013 at the Pan American Center.
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UTEP was ahead 48-39 when C.J. Cooper drained a three pointer with 7:06 to play. The Miners managed just five field goal attempts the rest of the game, making one, while turning the ball over five times.
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NMSU went on an 8-0 run, cutting the UTEP lead to 48-47. Cooper, who scored all nine of his points in the second half, nailed a big three- pointer with 2:22 to play, pushing the Miner lead to four (51-47). But that turned out to be UTEP’s final basket of the game.
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The Aggies’ Kevin Aronis sank a three pointer 17 seconds later, then buried a jumper with 1:12 left to put his team ahead for good at 52-51.
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After McKenzie Moore missed a three point- er, the defense broke down and Konner Tucker fouled Las Cruces native Terrel de Rouen with 24 seconds on the clock. He made both free throws for a 54-51 lead.
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UTEP rode the hot hand but Cooper missed a three pointer with eight seconds left, the team’s final chance at forcing overtime.
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The teams played to a football-esque 17-14 halftime score. The 14 points were the fewest scored by the Miners in a period since the final game of the 2002-03 season at Tulsa. UTEP scored 13 first-half points in that game.
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The Miners shot 25 percent in the first half and NMSU shot 22.7 percent. Both teams heated up over the final 20 minutes, with UTEP connecting on 63.6 percent of its shots and NMSU 52 per- cent.
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UTEP placed one player in double figure scoring as Moore scored 10 points. Aronis scored all 11 of his points in the second half, and Bandja Sy added 10 points. Sim Bhullar was a factor inside with six points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

UTEP 84, LOYOLA (N.O.) 49
[RECAP]
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Matt Willms scored 20 points to lead four UTEP players in double figures as the Miners pasted Loyola (New Orleans), 84-49, in their season opener on Nov. 9 at the Don Haskins Center.
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John Bohannon added 16 points, McKenzie Moore 15 and Julian Washburn 12 for UTEP.
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Willms had a dominant second half with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the line.
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Leading 15-12 with under six minutes remaining in the first half, UTEP took control with a 14-2 spurt, capped by a Moore layup, to surge to a 29-14 advantage. Moore scored eight points during the run.
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The Miners were up 35-21 at the midway point, then put the pedal to the middle by outscoring the Wolf Pack 10-1 in the first three and a half minutes of the second stanza. Loyola dropped the lead under 20 just once in the final 17:40.
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UTEP outscored Loyola 48-24 in the paint and 27-10 off the bench, with Moore leading the way.

C-USA RECOGNIZES WILLMS
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Matt Willms was named the season’s first Conference USA Freshman of the Week on Monday.
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He tallied 20 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals in the season opener versus Loyola (New Orleans).
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Willms scored 18 points in the second half, connecting on 7-of-9 shots.
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He is fourth Miner to garner C-USA Freshman of the Week honors, joining John Bohannon (Dec. 13, 2010), Cedrick Lang (Dec. 26, 2011) and Julian Washburn, who was a four-time honoree during the 2011-12 season.

LOYOLA POST-GAME NOTES
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UTEP scored 80+ points in an opener for the first time since Nov. 13, 2009 versus Texas Southern (89). It marked the second-most points by the Miners in an opener in the last 10 years.
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The 35-point margin of victory was the largest for the Miners in a season opener since Nov. 22, 2003 versus UT Permian Basin (109-49), and the second-largest since 1989.
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UTEP shot 50 percent or better from the field in an opener for the first time since Nov. 21, 2004 against Delaware State (62.5 percent). The Miners finished 35-for-70 from the floor.
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John Bohannon scored in double figures in an opener for the third straight year. He tallied 12 points versus UTSA (Nov. 11, 2011), 17 against Oral Roberts (Nov. 9, 2012) and 16 versus Loyola (Nov. 9, 2013).
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Julian Washburn has scored in double figures in six straight games dating back to last season, one shy of his career long streak (seven in a row from Jan. 26 to Feb. 16, 2013).
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The 25 assists were the most for the Miners in a game under coach Tim Floyd, surpassing the 24 at SMU on March 9, 2013.
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The Miner backcourt of Tevin Caldwell, C.J. Cooper, Justin Crosgile, McKenzie Moore and Jalen Ragland combined for 16 assists and four turnovers.
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The 47 rebounds marked the second-most for UTEP in a game under Floyd (50 versus Western New Mexico on Dec. 28, 2010).
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UTEP received a combined 39 rebounds from five players -- John Bohannon (nine), Julian Washburn & Matt Willms (eight), Vince Hunter & McKenzie Moore (seven).
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Loyola’s .246 field goal percentage was the lowest by a UTEP opponent since UAB shot 23.7 percent on Feb. 8, 2006.
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Prior to the Loyola game, the last time UTEP led wire-to-wire in an opener was versus Texas Southern on Nov. 13, 2009. Overall it marked the 11th time under coach Tim Floyd that the Miners did not trail in a game.
WILLMS’ DEBUT ...
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Matt Willms became the first UTEP player to score 20 points in his initial game since Giovanni St. Amant tallied 21 points in the 2002-03 season opener versus New Mexico Highlands.
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Overall it tied for the third highest-scoring debut by a Miner freshman behind Gary Brewster (23 points against Doane College on Nov. 24, 1972) and St. Amant. Terry White also scored 20 points versus East Texas State on Nov. 24, 1978.
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Willms became the 11th player to post a 20-point game under coach Tim Floyd, joining Randy Culpepper (17 times), John Bohannon (seven times), Julian Washburn (six times), Gabriel McCulley (two times), Christian Polk (two times), Claude Britten, C.J. Cooper, Cedrick Lang, Michael Perez and Julyan Stone.
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Willms’ four blocks were the most by a UTEP player in an opener since John Tofi had four against New Mexico Highlands on Nov. 23, 2002.
FLOYD IN 20TH YEAR
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Tim Floyd is in his 20th season as a collegiate head coach.
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Floyd has posted a 387-221 mark during stints at Idaho (1986-88), New Orleans (1988-94), Iowa State (1994-98), USC (2005-09) and UTEP (2010-present).
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His UTEP record is 59-41 over three seasons.
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Floyd ranks no. 5 in school history in victories behind Don Haskins (719), Tony Barbee (82), George McCarty (77) and Marshall Pennington (63).
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He was also head coach of the Chicago Bulls (1998-2002) and the New Orleans Hornets (2003-04) in the NBA.
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Floyd enjoyed 17 winning seasons in his previous 19 years as a collegiate head coach.
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His teams have made eight NCAA Tournament appearances and four trips to the NIT.
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Floyd was an assistant coach at UTEP from 1978-86 under Hall of Famer Don Haskins.

LOOKING AHEAD
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The Miners will host West Alabama in a Battle 4 Atlantis home game on Sunday (Nov. 17) at 3 p.m.
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Next week UTEP will face a pair of 2013 NCAA Tournament teams in the Haskins Center -- Colorado State on Tuesday (Nov. 19) and NM State on Saturday (Nov. 23). Both games are at 7 p.m.

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