Miners Take Aim at First Road Win on Wednesday at Tulsa
Jan. 9, 2012
UTEP (8-8, 1-1 C-USA) seeks its first road win of the season on Wednesday when it plays at Tulsa (7-9, 0-2 C-USA). The Miners are 0-4 on the road this season with losses to NM State (89-73), Oregon (64-59), UNLV (65-54) and Marshall (76-60).
UTEP squared its C-USA mark at 1-1 with a 70-50 conquest of Houston on Saturday at the Haskins Center. Tulsa dropped to 0-2 in league play with a 57-55 loss to SMU on its home floor the same night.
The Miners have won six of their last nine games following a 2-5 start. UTEP hasn't been over .500 this season. The Miners have alternated wins and losses in their last seven games. Tulsa, meanwhile, is trying to avoid its second three-game losing streak of the season. The Golden Hurricane is 4-4 at home on the year and 167-47 in the Donald W. Reynolds Center, which opened in December of 1998.
The Golden Hurricane committed 17 turnovers, leading to 19 points for SMU, in Saturday's loss to the Mustangs. Tulsa is averaging 15.7 turnovers per game, second-worst in C-USA to UAB's 16.4.
Sophomore guard Jordan Clarkson is averaging a team-leading 15.3 points per game. Junior guard Scottie Haralson is collecting 10.9 ppg and senior forward/center Steven Idlet 9.8 ppg. Sophomore center Kodi Maduka is the team leader on the boards with 7.0 rpg.
Haralson ranks among the national leaders, averaging 3.0 three-point field goals per game (15th in the NCAA). He is shooting 40.3 percent from outside.
The Golden Hurricane rates second in C-USA in rebound margin (+6.9) and third in blocked shots (5.3 bpg). Tulsa is 22nd nationally in rebound margin and 32nd in blocks.
Tulsa leads the series, 27-16. The Miners have won five of the last six games played between the schools after the Golden Hurricane beat UTEP four straight times over the course of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons.
The Golden Hurricane has claimed 17 of the 22 matchups between the teams in Tulsa. UTEP has won three times in its last 15 trips to Tulsa, and last year fell 69-68 at the Donald W. Reynolds Center on a jumper by Justin Hurtt with seven seconds left. Incidentally, Tulsa was also coming off a home loss to SMU when it faced the Miners a year ago.
UTEP's Tim Floyd is 2-1 in his coaching career against Tulsa.
UTEP's John Bohannon (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster HS) played against TU's Jordan Clarkson (San Antonio, Texas/Wagner HS) in high school. Bohannon and D'Von Campbell (Arlington, Texas/Bowie HS) are also former AAU teammates of Tulsa's Kodi Maduka (Arlington, Texas/Arlington HS).
Tulsa assistant coach Terrence Rencher is the University of Texas' all-time leading scorer. He played the full 40 minutes against the Miners on Dec. 29, 1991 at the Special Events Center and scored 17 points in the Longhorns' 92-88 loss.
THE LAST MEETING
Randy Culpepper scored seven of his 26 points during a game-changing 15-2 run in the second half as UTEP topped Tulsa, 66-54, in the Buick Conference USA Tournament semifinals on March 11, 2011 at the Don Haskins Center.
The spurt transformed a 40-36 deficit into a 51-42 lead. The Miners maintained at least a seven point cushion over the Golden Hurricane (19-13) the rest of the way.
UTEP trailed 28-27 at the half before turning up the defensive pressure over the final 20 minutes. Tulsa was outscored 39-26 after the break and made just 9-of-26 shots (34.6 percent).
Justin Hurtt, C-USA's leading scorer, got off to a quick start, scoring 11 straight points to lift Tulsa to an 18-16 lead midway through the first period. The Miners made the defensive switch from Culpepper to Julyan Stone on Hurtt and he scored only six points the remainder of the game. Hurtt was 3-for-9 from the floor in the second half with two turnovers.
Culpepper, meanwhile, scored 20+ points for the fifth game in a row against Tulsa.
The Miners made 14-of-21 shots (66.7 percent) in the second half.
Another key was UTEP outrebounding Tulsa 18-13 in the second half after being dominated on the boards (21-9) prior to the break.
UTEP IN THE C-USA STATISTICS
Category Stat Rank
Individual Category Stat Rank
UTEP IN THE NCAA STATISTICS
The Miners held national top-50 rankings in field goal percentage (40th, .477) and assists per game (48th, 14.9) through the games of Jan. 8.
MINERS SHOOT 60 PERCENT FOR FIRST TIME SINCE `04
UTEP hit 61.2 percent (30-of-49) of its shots against Houston on Saturday. The last time the Miners shot 60 percent or better in a game was on Nov. 21, 2004 versus Delaware State (30-for-48, 62.5 percent). The last time UTEP shot 60 percent in a conference game was on Feb. 4, 2004 against Rice (43-for-70, 61.4 percent).
HOT SHOOTING HAS MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
UTEP is 7-0 this season -- and 18-0 under coach Tim Floyd -- when shooting 50 percent or better from the field. What's interesting about this year's Miners is that they have yet to win a game (0-7) when they shoot between 40 and 49 percent. UTEP is 1-1 when shooting under 40 percent. The Miners are 8-3 when they shoot a higher percentage than their opponent, and 0-5 when they don't.
MINERS HAVE SHOT WELL
UTEP has shot 49 percent or better from the field in eight of the last 12 games, coinciding with the return of senior forward Gabriel McCulley from a leg injury. The Miners have a .501 field goal percentage during that span.
UTEP is shooting 52.9 percent in conference play, second only to Memphis' 54.5 percent.
UTEP has forced 15 or more turnovers in three of the last five games -- something it did just twice in the season's first 11 contests. UTEP has also scored 15+ points off turnovers in four of the last five games, compared to five times in the first 11 outings.
UTEP has had a positive assist/turnover ratio in a season-high three straight games and seven of the last nine. The Miners have committed fewer turnovers than the opposition in six of the last nine games.
BACK ON TRACK ON THE GLASS
The Miners had a positive rebound margin for just the second time in 10 games against Houston on Saturday. UTEP dominated the Cougars on the backboards, 35-20, including 25-9 in the second half. It marked the Miners' third double-figure rebound margin of the season (36-26 versus UTSA, 37-27 versus UC Riverside). The last time UTEP outrebounded a conference opponent by 15 boards or more was at Houston on Jan. 28, 2009 (51-34).
SECOND-HALF DEFENSIVE EFFORT WAS ONE FOR THE AGES
UTEP held Houston to 19 points over the final 20 minutes on Saturday, limiting the Cougars to a .276 (8-for-29) field goal percentage during that stretch. The last time the Miners allowed fewer than 20 points in a half to a conference foe was on March 6, 2010 against UAB, when the Blazers mustered just 18 points in the final period.
MINERS RULING THE PAINT
Over the last three games, UTEP has scored 46, 40 and 34 points in the paint. The last time the Miners played three consecutive games with 30 points or more inside the shaded area was in February of last year (at Southern Miss, versus Houston & UCF). UTEP hasn't had four games in a row with 30+ points in the paint since a six-game run in January and February of 2010.
MINERS GETTING TO THE LINE WITH MORE REGULARITY
UTEP has shot more free throws than its opponent in seven of the last nine games after doing so just once in the first seven outings. The Miners have a 180-140 edge in attempts during that stretch. UTEP has also done a better job of keeping opponents off the foul line, holding them to fewer than 20 attempts in a season-high four consecutive games.
A LONG TIME COMING FOR McCULLEY
Gabriel McCulley recorded the first 20-point game of his college career in his 118th appearance for the Miners on Saturday. McCulley set a career-high for field goals made (nine) and tied his personal best for field goal attempts (11) against the Cougars. McCulley became the fourth Miner to score 20 points in a game this season, joining John Bohannon, Cedrick Lang and Michael Perez who have also achieved the feat once.
McCULLEY FINDS HIS WAY INTO C-USA STATS
After missing the first four games of the season while rehabbing a leg injury, Gabriel McCulley has finally played in the requisite 75 percent of UTEP's games to earn a spot in the C-USA statistics. McCulley checks in this week ranked first in field goal percentage (.655), tied for ninth in steals (1.3 avg.) and 17th in scoring (12.2 ppg).
McCULLEY IS MUCH-IMPROVED
Gabriel McCulley has certainly elevated his game in his last go round with the Miners. Coming into the year, he had career averages of 4.6 points, shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and 34.9 percent from outside. This season, McCulley is averaging 12.2 ppg with a .655 field goal percentage and .474 (9-for-19) three-point field goal percentage. He has made 12-of-17 shots (.706) in C-USA play and is shooting 73.7 percent (28-for-38) from the field over the last five games.
FAST START FOR WASHBURN
Freshman swingman Julian Washburn has taken a liking to conference play, scoring 34 points in the Miners' first two league games. He tied for game high scoring honors at Marshall (Jan. 4) with 15 points, then tied his career-high with 19 points against Houston. Washburn is shooting 62.5 percent (15-for-24) from the floor in C-USA action.
Washburn is tied for fifth in C-USA in scoring for league games only (17.0 ppg).
WASHBURN IS A THREE-TIME FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Julian Washburn was tabbed C-USA's Freshman of the Week for the third time on Monday. He also earned the honor on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19. Houston's TaShawn Thomas and Tulane's Ricky Tarrant are the other multiple winners of the award this season (two times each).
Overall, UTEP has had the C-USA Freshman of the Week four times in the last five weeks, with Cedrick Lang receiving accolades on Dec. 26.
WASHBURN AMONG FRESHMAN LEADERS
Averaging 10.9 points per game, swingman Julian Washburn is the third-highest scoring freshman in Conference USA behind Tulane's Ricky Tarrant (12.1 ppg) and Houston's Joseph Young (11.4 ppg).
BOHANNON MAKES HIS MARK
Sophomore center John Bohannon has been playing the best basketball of his young UTEP career. He has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, averaging 12.5 ppg with a .563 (27-for-48) field goal percentage.
Bohannon has also led the Miners in rebounding in six straight games (7.8 avg.). If he does so against Tulsa on Wednesday, it will be the longest streak by a UTEP player since Derrick Caracter's eight-gamer early in the 2009-10 season.
ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR "BO"
John Bohannon has had four double-doubles in his UTEP career, most recently on Saturday against Houston when he collected 14 points and 11 boards. That was Bohannon's first double-double in a conference game. He has compiled double-digit rebounds on six occasions. The 11 rebounds versus Houston were a season high for Bohannon.
BO'S MOST INTERESTING STAT
John Bohannon leads the Miners in rebounding (6.3 avg.), and ranks second in blocked shots (0.7 avg.) and fourth in scoring (9.1 ppg). The 6-10 Bohannon is also second on the team in assists with 28. He has recorded 15 assists in the last five games and came within three of a triple-double versus Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 29) with 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven dimes.