Rebounding the Focus as Miners Host Talented Marshall
Jan. 11, 2013
The UTEP basketball team won a critical Conference USA road game on Wednesday at Tulane, but coach Tim Floyd stressed the importance of putting it in the rear view mirror at Friday's practice.
The Last Meeting
January 4, 2012
The Miners (7-6) will host the Herd (8-8) in the Conference USA home opener on Saturday at 7. One team will leave the Haskins Center 2-0 in league play. Marshall snapped a three-game losing streak by blasting Tulsa, 79-61, on Wednesday in Huntington. The Herd had a 19-0 run in the first half, turning a 6-5 deficit into a 24-6 lead.
Don't be fooled by Marshall's break-even record. The Herd is ultra talented. Junior guard DeAndre Kane is a C-USA Player of the Year candidate and ranks fifth nationally in assists (7.8 avg.). Marshall has another scorer in the backcourt in junior D.D. Scarver, a transfer from Trinity Valley Community College who averages 14.2 points. The Herd is loaded up front as well with 6-9 junior Elijah Pittman (14.8 ppg), 6-8 senior Dennis Tinnon (10.4 ppg/9.4 rpg) and 6-10 senior Nigel Spikes (6.4 ppg/8.7 rpg).
Floyd fully expects Marshall to shake off its non-conference blues and challenge for the C-USA title.
"Kane has been banged up," he said. "He's back and he's probably the premier guard in our league.
"They've just destroyed people on the offensive boards. I think they had 26 the last time we played them. In their last non-conference game against Ohio, they had 25 offensive boards. They're athletic and they get very good guard play. That gives them a quality team that can beat anybody."
The Miners have outrebounded three of their last four opponents and will have to continue the trend if they're going to keep the Herd winless in El Paso.
"We just have to have inspired rebounding from everybody, and generally that means your guards have to give you some supporting help," he said. "That was a point of emphasis in practice [the last two days]."
UTEP has been very good in Conference USA home games (45-10), and even better in C-USA home openers (6-1). The Miners have won 23 of their last 26 C-USA home games dating back to the 2008-09 season. They are also 20-3 in January C-USA home games and are riding a 10-game winning streak in the month.
Floyd asked the fans to assist in keeping the run going.
"We've got to have a great response from the crowd," he said. "I'd love to see us come out and get after these guys defensively. It seems like that tends to happen when this place is alive. It's a Saturday night in January and I'd like to see it like the old days, filled up and packed with a great atmosphere."