UTEP Men's Basketball to host Rice Wednesday

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 5:18pm

UTEP (12-8, 5-2 C-USA) continues a string of three consecutive Conference USA home games on Wednesday against Rice (5-16, 1-6 C-USA). The Miners are 1-0 on the homestand with a 62-50 victory over Tulane on Feb. 2. UTEP will host Tulsa on Saturday. UTEP enters Wednesday’s game tied for third place in the Conference USA standings with UCF. Rice is tied for 11th place.

- Wednesday’s game marks the midpoint of the 16-game C-USA schedule. With a win over Rice, UTEP would have six victories or more through eight games for the third time since the league went to a 16-game slate in 2007. The Miners were 7-1 through eight games in 2010 and 6-2 in 2011.
- The Miners are 10-1 at home this season. UTEP, Memphis (13-1) and Southern Miss (8-0) are the only teams in C-USA with one home loss or fewer.
- UTEP has won seven straight home games. It marks the second-longest winning streak for the Miners in the Haskins Center under coach Tim Floyd; they ran off 15 consecutive victories in the venue during the 2010-11 season.
- The Miners are 48-10 in C-USA home games since joining the league for the 2005-06 season (7-0 in 2006, 5-3 in 2007, 7-1 in 2008, 5-3 in 2009, 8-0 in 2010, 7-1 in 2011, 6-2 in 2012, 3-0 in 2013). The Miners have won 26 of their last 29 C-USA home games dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.
- The aforementioned 48-10 record includes an 18-2 mark versus Texas counterparts SMU (8-0), Houston (6-1) and Rice (4-1).
- UTEP is 18-4 in C-USA home games under Tim Floyd (16-3 regular season, 2-1 C-USA Tournament).
- UTEP is 73-44 all-time in Conference USA play. Only Memphis (104) and UAB (75) have posted more C-USA victories since the league’s realignment for the 2005-06 season.
- UTEP has registered at least 10 Conference USA wins in three of the last four seasons.
- UTEP has won 11 of its last 15 games after starting the season 1-4.

MINER LEGENDS
- UTEP continues to honor past greats at halftime of its home games, a policy instituted upon coach Tim Floyd’s arrival for the 2010-11 season.
- Wednesday’s Miner Legend is center Greg Foster, who played two seasons at UTEP (1988-90) after transferring from UCLA. Foster is currently an assistant coach at UTEP.
- In 58 games for the Miners (54 starts), he averaged 10.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks, shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 73.4 percent from the free throw line.
- He led UTEP to back-to-back WAC tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 1989 and 1990. He was named MVP of the 1990 WAC Tournament.
- He had seven double-doubles as a Miner.
- He was chosen by the Washington Bullets in the second round of the 1990 NBA Draft.
- Foster enjoyed a 13-year NBA career, playing for nine teams. He was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2001 world championship squad and also reached the NBA Finals twice with the Utah Jazz.
- He played in 656 NBA games and totaled 2,538 points, 1,691 rebounds and 194 blocks.

Wednesday's OPPONENT
- The Owls are in major rebuilding mode this season with only three players returning from last year’s 19-win squad.
- Back from the 2011-12 team are senior guard Tamir Jackson (16.4 ppg), sophomore guard Julian DeBose (9.9 ppg), sophomore forward Seth Gearhart (7.0 ppg) and sophomore guard Dan Peera (0.3 ppg).
- DeBose hit the last-second, game-winning jumper as Rice beat UTEP 77-75 at Tudor Fieldhouse on Feb. 1 of last season.
- Rice has one of the top newcomers in C-USA in guard Max Guercy, who has earned freshman of the week honors three times in the last five weeks. Guercy is averaging 9.7 points and scored a season-high 21 in a 79-69 win over Houston on Jan. 30.
- The Owls are 0-6 on the road with losses to Temple (77-63), Texas (57-41), Harvard (92-62), Tulsa (64-51), UCF (78-67) and Tulane (73-66).
- Rice has attempted 110 more three-pointers (462) than free throws (352). In fact, 43.3 percent of the Owls' shot attempts in 2012-13 have come from beyond the arc.
- The Owls average 7.6 three pointers per game, tops in C-USA, and shoot 34.4 percent from outside as a team.
- Junior guard Austin Ramljak, a Ventura College transfer, leads the team in three pointers made (48) and attempted (126).
- Rice is second in Conference USA in turnover margin (+1.9) behind Southern Miss (+3.4).

SERIES NOTES
- The Miners lead the series 14-11 and have won 10 of the last 14 meetings between the schools.
- UTEP is 9-3 all-time versus Rice at the Don Haskins Center. The Owls spoiled Gabriel McCulley’s final home game last season, knocking off the Miners 68-61 for their first victory in El Paso in nine years.
- UTEP’s Tim Floyd will be coaching against Rice’s Ben Braun for the 12th time on Wednesday. Floyd is 6-5 against Braun-led squads, with six of the previous matchups taking place when Floyd was at USC and Braun was at Cal. Another transpired during the 1991-92 season when Floyd was at New Orleans and Braun was coaching at Eastern Michigan.

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