Miners Move to 4-0 With 81-66 Win Over North Carolina A&T
Nov. 25, 2009
In a game of big runs by both teams, UTEP had one more spurt than North Carolina A&T and that was enough to carry the Miners past the Aggies, 81-66, on Wednesday at the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners climbed to 4-0 for the first time in nine years, and the 17th time in school history.
"We did a lot of positive things," UTEP coach Tony Barbee said. "We were a little lackadaisical with the ball. Thirteen turnovers is too many. We rebounded better (35-28), but not the way we need to dominate the backboard. We talked about getting off to a fast start, which we did. We need our defense to create our offense."
UTEP scored 20 of the game's first 25 points, ended the first half with a 11-0 run and had a 13-2 spurt early in the second half. North Carolina A&T (3-3) got back into the game with a 22-6 run midway through the first half, and utilized a 10-3 spurt to trim a 68-49 Miner lead down to 71-59 with 6:54 to play. But UTEP finished strong, keeping the Aggies without a field goal for the final 5:32 to cap their first unbeaten month since November of 2003.
Five Miner players scored in double figures for the second time in four games, as newcomers Christian Polk and Jeremy Williams led the way with 14 points apiece. Stalwarts Julyan Stone, Randy Culpepper and Arnett Moultie added 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
UTEP also received an impressive debut from freshman Marcus Ruppel, who played 16 minutes and supplied eight points, three rebounds and an assist. He was 3-for-4 from the field and 2-for-2 from three-point range.
"Marcus has shown me the defensive intensity that I expect guys to play with (in practice)," Barbee said. "Early on, like a typical freshman, he wasn't showing that. He stayed patient and humble and has really worked at it."
North Carolina A&T, which entered the game averaging over 30 three-point attempts per game, finished 10-for-25 from beyond the arc. After hitting 7-of-17 triples in the first half, the Aggies were held in check in the second stanza, going 3-for-8 from outside.
"When we were intense and got in our (defensive) stance and communicated, they didn't get any threes," Barbee said.
Dwane Joshua buried six trifectas to lead North Carolina A&T with 21 points.
The Miners will take a brief Thanksgiving break before playing their first road game of the season on Tuesday (Dec. 1) at I-10 rival New Mexico State. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.