Miners One Win Away From CBI Finals
March 24, 2009
UTEP (21-12) tangles with Richmond (20-15) in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. MDT (8 p.m. EST) at the 9,071-seat Robins Center in Richmond, Va. Oregon State (15-17) will host Stanford (20-13) in Wednesday's other semifinal at 8 p.m. MDT.
Both semifinal games will be nationally televised on HDNet.
The winner will advance to the best-of-three championship series March 30-April 3.
UTEP is facing Richmond for the first time. The Miners have compiled an all-time record of 5-4 versus Atlantic 10 schools (2-0 versus Rhode Island, 1-0 versus LaSalle, 1-0 versus St. Louis, 1-1 versus St. Joseph's, 0-1 versus George Washington, 0-2 versus Charlotte). The last time UTEP met a team from the A-10 was on Dec. 18, 2001, an 86-58 loss at Charlotte. The Miners are 5-1 at home and 0-3 away from home (0-1 road, 0-2 neutral sites) against A-10 competition.
The Miners have played one game in the city of Richmond in their basketball history. UTEP faced Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 16, 1990, dropping a 64-61 decision in overtime to the Golden Gophers at Richmond Coliseum. UTEP has played three games against teams from the state of Virginia (hosted George Mason on Nov. 18, 1992; hosted William & Mary on Dec. 29, 1964; faced William & Mary in Jonesboro, Ark. on Dec. 21, 1963).
The Spiders will be playing their third straight home game in the CBI after dispatching St. John's (75-69) on March 18 and College of Charleston (74-72) on Monday. Richmond has won eight of its last 10 contests overall.
Richmond is 11-6 at home this season while playing before an average of 4,688 fans per game. The Spiders drew 2,171 for St. John's and 2,541 for College of Charleston.
Like UTEP, Richmond has a potent 1-2 punch in sophomore guard Kevin Anderson (16.8 ppg) and junior guard David Gonzalvez (15.7 ppg). Anderson is averaging 20.5 ppg in the CBI and Gonzalvez is averaging 21 ppg.
Like UTEP, Richmond starts only one senior in center Jarhon Giddings, who averages 7.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg.
The Spiders are averaging 6.8 three pointers and nearly 20 three-point attempts per game while shooting 34.2 percent from beyond the arc led by Gonzalvez, who is 68-for-168 from outside. Richmond forces 15 turnovers and averages 7.4 steals per contest.
UTEP's Stefon Jackson has scored 803 points this season and needs only 14 more to break Jim Barnes' seasonal scoring record of 816 points in 1963-64.
Jackson has also played 1,194 minutes this season and needs to be on the floor for only eight minutes against Richmond to break Eddie Rivera's record of 1,201 minutes in 1992-93.