Konner Tucker, Men's Basketball Konner Tucker had an amazing shooting week, helping UTEP post wins over Oregon out of the Pac-12 Conference and Nebraska out of the Big Ten. He was named MVP of the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational for his efforts. In four games this week - his first for the Miners after transferring from Sam Houston State - Tucker averaged 15.0 points and shot 50 percent (17-for-34) from the field, 62.5 percent (15-for-24) from three-point range and 100 percent (11-for-11) from the line.
He scored 13 points in 22 minutes in a narrow 62-60 loss to no. 21 UNLV. He was perfect on nine free throw tries and hit a big three-pointer with 13 seconds left to clinch UTEP's 91-84, triple overtime upset of Oregon, the top team in the "others receiving votes" section of the Associated Press poll. Tucker was on fire in two Sun Bowl tournament games, averaging 17.5 ppg and connecting on 11-of-15 three point attempts.
Kayla Thornton, Women's Basketball Kayla Thornton poured in a game-high 22 points while helping UTEP defend with tenacity in a 60-45 conquest of New Mexico on Dec. 20. Thornton did her damage both inside & out, hitting 4-of-8 from distance as part of an all-around scoring attack. The Miners grabbed a 7-0 lead in the game, capped by a triple from Thornton, and they would never relinquish that lead. UNM closed within five at the break before Thornton took over. UTEP opened the half on a 12-0 run, with Thornton tallying 10 of the points. She also added four rebounds in the game & was 6-of-8 from the free-throw line.