MINERS
UTEP Basketball Notes/Game 31/Rice




The Tip-Off ...

UTEP (14-16, 6-10 C-USA) is seeded 10th in the 2007 Conference USA Tournament presented by Aropostale and will face seventh seed Rice (14-15, 8-8 C-USA) on Wednesday at 11 a.m. MST (noon CST) in Memphis, Tenn. ... the 18,400-seat FedExForum is the site of the tournament ... the winner will meet second seed UCF (22-8, 11-5 C-USA) in Thursday’s quarterfinal round at 11 a.m. MST (noon CST) ... UCF has an opening round bye in the tournament along with top seed Memphis, third seed Houston and fourth seed Tulane ... Rice beat UTEP in the only meeting between the teams this season, 73-67 at Autry Court in Houston on Jan. 24 ... UTEP is 2-0 on neutral floors with wins over Penn (69-66) and St. Francis [N.Y.] (54-52) at the BCA Invitational in Syracuse, N.Y. to open the season ... Rice has a 2-2 mark in neutral court games, beating Colorado State (70-61) and losing to Gonzaga (88-50) in the NIT Season Tip-Off in Spokane, Wash., and beating Western Carolina (67-62) and losing to Belmont (87-85) in the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic in Moraga, Calif. ... Rice has lost five of its last six games and UTEP is 2-9 in its last 11 contests ... UTEP, which has lost its last three games, hasn’t lost four in a row this season.

On The Air ...

Wednesday’s game will not be televised ... CSTV has coverage of all quarterfinal and semifinal games and the championship will be carried on CBS ... English and Spanish radio coverage is available on KOFX 92.3 FM and ESPN Deportes 1150 AM respectively ... Jon Teicher (play-by-play) and Steve Yellen (color) are the English broadcasters, while Omar Ropele (play-by-play) will call the action in Spanish.

Conference Tournament Notes ...

UTEP is making its second appearance in the Conference USA Tournament ... the Miners were seeded third a year ago and knocked off 11th-seed Southern Miss in the quarterfinals, 66-47, before bowing out to second seed UAB, 63-60, in the semifinals ... UTEP’s all-time record in conference tournaments is 28-16, including 27-15 as a member of the Western Athletic Conference from 1969-2005 ... UTEP won WAC Tournament titles in 1984, 1986, 1989, 1990 and 2005 ... UTEP is 0-1 all-time as a no. 10 seed in conference tournaments, losing to seventh seed Boise State 73-72 in overtime in the play-in round of the 2002 WAC Tournament at Tulsa ... the Miners are 2-3 in conference tournament play-in games, advancing in 1994 and 2003 as members of the WAC ... UTEP also won a play-in game in the 1996 WAC Tournament, but had to forfeit a victory over Hawaii due to the use of an ineligible player ... UTEP has faced Rice once previously in a conference tournament ... the Miners beat the Owls, 85-77, in the semifinals of the 2005 WAC Tournament in Reno, Nev.

Conference Tournament Experience ...

Kevin Henderson, Stefon Jackson and Maurice Thomas all played in UTEP’s two Conference USA Tournament games last season ... Henderson and Jackson started both contests ... Henderson averaged 10.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 3.0 apg and 0.5 spg in the two games, shooting 39 percent (7-for-18) from the floor, 50 percent (6-for-12) from three-point territory and 25 percent (1-for-4) from the line ... Jackson averaged 8.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg and 1.0 apg with a .385 (5-for-13) field goal percentage, .333 (1-for-3) three-point percentage and 1.000 (5-for-5) free throw percentage ... Thomas was on the floor for four minutes in the two games, totaling one rebound.

Noting Rice ...

Senior guard Morris Almond scored 29 points in the Owls’ 73-65 loss to Tulsa on Saturday at Autry Court in Houston ... Almond leads C-USA in scoring at 26.6 points per game ... he is shooting 48.2 percent from the field, 45.4 percent from three-point range (first in Conference USA) and 85.7 percent from the line (first in C-USA) ... Almond is also averaging 6.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals ... he has scored 20+ points 22 times this season, 30+ points eight times and 40+ points on two occasions, including a season-high 44 points against Vanderbilt on Jan. 2 ... Almond has scored 38 percent of the Owls’ points in 2006-07 ... senior guard Lorenzo Williams is averaging 8.8 ppg ... Rice is second in C-USA in three-point field goal percentage (.392), and third in free throw percentage (.719).

Series History ...

Rice’s 73-67 win over UTEP on Jan. 24 snapped a five-game winning streak by the Miners in the series ... UTEP now leads the series 9-8.

Miners Versus Rice ...

Four UTEP players scored in double figures in the first matchup between the schools on Jan. 24 -- Maurice Thomas (17 points), Kevin Henderson (14), Malik Alvin (12) and Stefon Jackson (12) ... Thomas pulled down nine rebounds in the game, and Henderson hit four three-pointers ... Henderson, Jackson and Thomas are the only players on the Miner roster who have faced Rice twice ... all three played in UTEP’s 58-47 victory over the Owls a year ago in El Paso ... Henderson has averaged 10.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.5 apg and 2.0 spg against Rice, shooting 41 percent (7-for-17) from the field, 36 percent (5-for-14) from outside and 67 percent (2-for-3) from the charity stripe ... Jackson has averaged 9.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.5 apg and 1.0 spg versus the Owls with a .389 (7-for-18) field goal percentage, .250 (1-for-4) three-point field goal percentage and .400 (4-for-10) free throw percentage ... Thomas has averaged 8.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg against Rice, making 8-of-12 shot attempts (.667).

The Last Meeting ...

Cory Pflieger buried two big three-pointers late in the second half to spark a Rice rally, and UTEP missed 13 of 27 foul shots in a 73-67 loss to the Owls on Jan. 24 at Autry Court in Houston ... the Miners led 57-52 with six minutes remaining before Pflieger went to work ... his first triple pulled Rice within 57-55 and, after Maurice Thomas scored to give UTEP a 59-55 margin, he hit another trifecta to slice the Owls’ deficit to a single point with 4:49 to go ... UTEP still led 63-61 after Malik Alvin drained two free throws with 4:02 remaining, but the Miners managed just one field goal and four points the rest of the way ... Morris Almond scored the next six points for the Owls. He gave them the lead for good, 65-63, on a jumper with 3:08 left ... Almond tallied 29 points on the night, shooting 11-for-18 from the field and 5-for-6 from the line while adding 10 rebounds ... UTEP got off to a slow start, falling behind 15-4 in the first eight minutes ... the Miners still trailed 29-18 with 3:28 remaining in the first half before closing with a 13-5 run to draw within three points, 34-31, at the intermission ... Thomas gave UTEP its first lead since it was 2-0 with 17:27 to go in the game. His jumper put the Miners ahead 39-38 ... UTEP’s Kevin Henderson broke a 43-43 tie on a three-pointer with 12:14 left. The Miners didn’t trail again until Almond’s jumper at the 3:08 mark ... Thomas led UTEP with 17 points and nine rebounds. Henderson added 14 points, while Alvin and Stefon Jackson had 12 points each .. Alvin was 7-for-8 from the line, but the rest of the team was 7-for-19 ... the Owls shot 60.9 percent in the first half and 49 percent for the game, and outrebounded UTEP 39-30 ... the two teams combined for 37 turnovers 20 by Rice and 17 by the Miners.

Miners Wrap Up Regular Season With Loss at Houston ...

Robert McKiver scored eight of his 19 points during an 18-4 second half run, propelling Houston to a 74-67 win over UTEP on Saturday at Hofheinz Pavilion ... the spurt turned a 39-35 Miner lead into a 53-43 advantage for the Cougars, who snuffed out a late UTEP rally to post their seventh win in eight Conference USA home games ... Stefon Jackson scored 25 points to lead UTEP, and Houston native Dale Vanwright chipped in with 16 points ... the Miners shot 38.2 percent to the Cougars’ 35.1 percent and outrebounded Houston 47-34 ... Jackson had his second-best shooting game of the season, going 10-for-14 from the field, and Vanwright made 6-of-11 attempts. But the rest of the Miners were a combined 5-for-30 from the floor ... Kevin Henderson was 0-for-7 from the floor, Malik Alvin was 1-for-7 and Marvin Kilgore was 1-for-6 ... Marcus Malone nailed five three-pointers and scored 19 points for Houston ... Jahmar Thorpe, playing in his final home game for the Cougars, added 14 points, all in the second half ... Houston got off to a slow start offensively and the Miners took advantage, building a 13-5 lead as the Cougars missed 11 of their first 12 shots ... UTEP took a nine-point lead its largest of the night at 21-12 on two free throws by Maurice Thomas with 8:08 remaining in the half ... back-to-back three-pointers by Malone lifted the Cougars into a 32-27 advantage with 2:18 to go in the half, as the Miners went over five minutes without scoring a field goal ... the game was tied at 32 at the intermission ... after Houston took a 10-point lead midway through the second half, UTEP battled back to tie the score, 57-57, on a layup by Jackson with 6:32 to go ... free throws by McKiver and Thorpe put Houston ahead 60-57 with 5:40 remaining ... UTEP closed to within 60-59 on a layup by Jackson but that was as close as the Miners could get, as Thorpe buried a three-pointer to put the Cougars up by four with 4:41 left.

UTEP in the C-USA Stats ...

UTEP leads Conference USA in assists (15.2 apg) ... the Miners are second in scoring offense (75.7 ppg), and third in steals (8.4 spg), rebounding offense (38.7 rpg) and turnover margin (+2.53) ... Malik Alvin is fifth in assists (4.5 apg) ... Stefon Jackson is third in scoring (18.7 ppg), sixth in rebounding (6.3 rpg), tied for seventh in offensive rebounds (2.5 rpg) and eighth in steals (1.5 spg) ... Kevin Henderson is sixth in steals (1.6 spg) ... Jeremy Sampson is 10th in blocked shots (1.3 bpg) ... Maurice Thomas is third in field goal percentage (.549) and offensive rebounds (2.8 rpg).

Jackson Named Second Team All-League ...

Stefon Jackson was appointed second team All-Conference USA on Monday, based on a vote by league coaches ... Jackson is averaging 18.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 steals this season ... he is the sixth sophomore in UTEP history to earn All-Conference distinction, joining Jim Forbes in 1972, Anthony Burns in 1979, Tim Hardaway in 1987, Marlon Maxey in 1990 and Brandon Wolfram in 1999 who were all recognized by the Western Athletic Conference.

Memphis West ...

Five members of the UTEP staff have ties to the University of Memphis ... head coach Tony Barbee was an assistant for the Tigers from 2000-06 ... assistant coach Tony Madlock played for Memphis from 1988-92 ... assistant coach Milt Wagner was coordinator of basketball operations at Memphis from 2000-06 ... director of basketball operations Mike Babul was assistant director of basketball operations at Memphis during the 2003-04 season ... video coordinator Nathaniel Root lettered for the Tigers from 2000-03.

Jackson Among High-Scoring Sophomores ...

Stefon Jackson has set UTEP sophomore records for points scored (561) and 20-point games (16) this season ... Jackson ranks third among Miner sophomores with an 18.7 ppg scoring average behind Charlie Brown (21.1 ppg, 1956-57) and Nolan Richardson (21.0 ppg, 1960-61) ... his 561 points in 2006-07 mark the eighth-best seasonal total in school annals ... Jackson is chasing Brandon Wolfram, who is in seventh place with 580 points scored during the 1999-00 season.

The Jackson Notebook ...

Stefon Jackson is Conference USA’s only three-time Player of the Week to date ... Jackson was honored by the league on Dec. 4, Jan. 22 and was a co-winner on Feb. 5 ... two-time honorees this season include Rice’s Morris Almond, UAB’s Paul Delaney III, Memphis’ Chris Douglas-Roberts and Houston’s Robert McKiver ... Jackson pulled down 17 rebounds against Houston on Feb. 3, a UTEP record among guards ... he scored a career-high 33 points versus Jackson State on Dec. 22 -- just four shy of the UTEP sophomore record of 37 points, established by Charlie Brown versus West Texas State on Feb. 15, 1957 ... Jackson has scored 20 points in a half twice this season -- on Nov. 16 against UC Davis (21 points in the second half), and again versus Jackson State (22 points in the first half) ... he has attempted a free throw in 29 of 30 games this season (averaging 7.3 attempts per game) ... he has made 159 free throws in 2006-07 (tied for 11th on the season chart) and attempted 219 (tied for ninth) ... Jackson is the fifth UTEP guard to attempt 200 foul shots in a season, joining Nate Archibald (1969-70), Charlie Brown (1956-57), Antoine Gillespie (1993-94 and 1994-95) and Tim Hardaway (1988-89) ... Jackson has attempted 10 free throws or more in 12 games ... Jackson has shot 50 percent or better in four straight games for the first time in his Miner career. He has averaged 22.5 ppg while shooting 64 percent (34-for-53) from the floor over the last four contests ... he tied his career-high with 10 field goals made while shooting 71.4 percent (10-for-14) from the floor at Houston on Saturday ... it marked his second-best shooting performance of the season (best is 72.7 percent [8-for-11] versus Texas State on Dec. 19) ... Jackson has scored 20 or more points in three of the last four outings.

UTEP Causing Turnovers ...

The Miners have forced 560 turnovers this season, a school record (previous record 551 forced in 1986-87) ... UTEP has forced 20 or more turnovers in 15 games this season ... UTEP leads C-USA in turnovers forced (560) and turnovers forced per game (18.7) ... UTEP has scored more than 30 points off turnovers in three games (UC Davis, Toledo, Marshall), and is averaging 18.5 points off turnovers per contest ... UTEP’s 253 steals mark the fourth-best seasonal figure in school history ... UTEP has had at least 10 steals in 12 games this season (9-3 record) ... the Miners had a season-high 14 takeaways at Tulsa on Jan. 13 ... seven Miners have 20+ steals for the first time in school history (Malik Alvin, Darren Clarke, Kevin Henderson, Stefon Jackson, Marvin Kilgore, Victor Ramalho, Maurice Thomas).

Chart Watching ...

Malik Alvin owns Miner freshman records for assists (135) and steals (44), eclipsing the previous marks of 86 assists by Henry Hall in 1989-90 and 32 steals by Roy Smallwood in 1999-00 ... Alvin’s 135 assists are the 12th-best seasonal figure in school annals ... Alvin is chasing Prince Stewart (1991-92) and Eddie Rivera (1991-92), who are tied for 10th place with 145 steals ... Kevin Henderson’s 56 three-point field goals rank tied for 11th on the school seasonal list behind Mark Ingles and Jarvis Mullahon’s 60 in 1994-95 and 1999-00 respectively ... Henderson has made 100 career three-pointers (ninth in school history) ... with 38 blocked shots, Jeremy Sampson has tied Greg Foster (1989-90) and Marlon Maxey (1989-90) for the 14th-top seasonal figure ... Paul Cunningham (1982-83) and Brian Stewart (2001-02) are tied for 12th place with 39 rejections.

Talking Triples ...

UTEP has made 199 three-pointers -- third-most in a season in school history -- and attempted 602 (second-most) ... the school records are 214 makes and 627 attempts, both set during the 1994-95 season ... UTEP is averaging 20.1 three-point attempts per game and shooting 33.1 percent from beyond the arc ... UTEP established a school record with 37 three-point attempts at Southern Miss on Jan. 31 ... the Miners have already tied the school record by making 10 or more three-pointers in six games ... seven UTEP players have made 10 or more three-pointers this season (Malik Alvin, Darren Clarke, Kevin Henderson, Stefon Jackson, Marvin Kilgore, Jeremy Sampson, Dale Vanwright) for the first time in school history ... UTEP has made a three-point field goal in 204 consecutive games.

Guards Carrying the Load ...

Guards have scored 1,633 of the Miners’ 2,270 points this season (72 percent) ... UTEP has started four guards five times, and three guards 25 times ... a guard has led the Miners in scoring in 28 of 30 games this season ... either Kevin Henderson or Stefon Jackson has led the team in scoring in 14 of the last 15 contests ... a guard has led UTEP in rebounding in 19 games, including nine of the last 10 ... UTEP’s guards are averaging 20.9 rebounds per game and have been responsible for 59 percent of the team total ... UTEP’s guards have combined for double-digit boards in 29 of 30 games this season, including 30 or more on five occasions.

Two Guards Are Rebounding Leaders ...

Stefon Jackson and Kevin Henderson -- 6’5” and 6’3” respectively -- rank 1-2 on the team in rebounding ... Jackson is averaging 6.3 boards and Henderson 5.9 ... a guard hasn’t led UTEP in rebounding since the 1998-99 season (William Smith) ... Henderson has had seven boards or more in 13 games this season, including a career-high 15 versus UCF on Jan. 27 ... Jackson has had five games with double-figure rebounds, and has snared seven or more on 12 occasions this season ... Jackson has averaged 9.0 boards over the last eight games ... UTEP is 11-4 when outrebounding opponents and 3-12 when being tied or outrebounded.

UTEP Player Tidbits ...

Malik Alvin leads all Conference USA freshmen in assists (4.5 apg) and steals (1.5 spg). He has had at least one steal in 14 of the last 16 games ... Darren Clarke is 3-for-27 (.111) from the field over the last seven games, including 1-for-14 (.071) from outside. He has gone the last seven games without scoring in double figures, his longest drought of the season ... Kevin Henderson had his streak of games with at least one three-pointer made snapped at 17 on Saturday at Houston ... Marvin Kilgore is three assists shy of 100 for the season. After scoring in double figures in UTEP’s first three conference games, he has scored in double digits only three times in the last 13 outings ... Victor Ramalho had double-figure rebounds (10) at Houston on Saturday for the second time this season and the first time since Dec. 9 at New Mexico State ... Jeremy Sampson has nine blocked shots in the last five games ... Maurice Thomas is the only Miner shooting 50 percent or better from the field (.549). He has had nine or more rebounds in eight games this season, but has averaged 2.7 boards over the last six contests. Thomas is third on the team -- and first among frontcourt players -- with 15 double-figure scoring games ... Dale Vanwright has scored 35 points over the last three games (11.7 avg.), shooting 56.5 percent (13-for-23) from the field and 50 percent (7-for-14) from beyond the arc.

UTEP Signee a Mr. Basketball Finalist ...

Guard Randy Culpepper, who will be a freshman at UTEP beginning with the 2007-08 season, has been named a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the state of Tennessee ... Culpepper, who attends Sheffield High School in Memphis, is one of three Class AA Mr. Basketball finalists by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association ... the 5-11 Culpepper has scored more than 2,600 career points ... UTEP also signed forward Manuel Cass (South Kent [Conn.] High School) and center Wayne Portalatin (The Patterson School [N.C.] during November’s early period ... like Culpepper, Cass is regarded as a national top-200 prospect.

UTEP Building Basketball Practice Facility ...

UTEP is expected to break ground on the Foster and Stevens Basketball Complex this summer, with the building targeted for completion in the fall of 2008 ... the facility will be approximately 45,000 square feet with a cost of $13 million ... the complex will feature two practice courts, strength and conditioning center, sports medicine center, academic/film room, coaches’ offices, locker rooms, equipment room and lounges for the UTEP men’s and women’s basketball teams ... the complex will be situated just east of the Don Haskins Center, near the corner of Glory Road and Mesa Street ... two lead gifts of $3 million each were pledged by Jeff and Sharon Stevens and Paul L. Foster towards the completion of the facility ... Jeff Stevens is Executive Vice President of Marketing for Western Refining, Inc., and Foster is President and CEO of the company.

Miner Nuggets ...

UTEP is 2-2 when playing during the day this season (beat St. Francis [N.Y.] and New Mexico, lost to Texas Tech and UCF) ... UTEP is 11-1 when leading at the half ... the Miners have shot 75.5 percent (77-for-102) from the line over the last four games ... with 14 victories this season, Tony Barbee has the third-most wins among first-year UTEP coaches behind Doc Sadler (27, 2004-05) and Don Haskins (18, 1961-62) ... the Miners are 9-3 when they have more assists than turnovers, and 5-13 when they don’t ... the Miners have missed 121 free throws in their last 13 losses (9.3 per game) ... UTEP is 11-4 this season when making more free throws than foes and 10-3 when going to the line more times than the opposition ... UTEP’s four Philadelphia natives -- Malik Alvin, Stefon Jackson, Marvin Kilgore and Maurice Thomas -- have scored 1,325 of the team’s points this season (58 percent) ... five Miners have scored over 20 points in a game this season -- Malik Alvin, Kevin Henderson, Stefon Jackson, Marvin Kilgore and Maurice Thomas.

UTEP Notes Full Version (PDF) UTEP Notes Full Version (PDF)

 

 

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