It's Miners and Aggies Round One on Tuesday
Nov. 25, 2007
UTEP (3-1) and New Mexico State (2-4) will square off in the 194th meeting between the I-10 rivals on Tuesday in the Don Haskins Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. MST. The teams will meet twice in the next 12 days, with the rematch scheduled for Dec. 8 in Las Cruces.
UTEP, 2-0 at home this season, hasn't played a game since throttling Texas Southern, 78-57, on Nov. 18 in the Haskins Center.
Tuesday's game is the first of three straight for the Miners versus 2007 NCAA Tournament teams. New Mexico State was 25-9 last season, won the WAC Tournament in Las Cruces and fell to Texas, 79-67, in the first round of the "Big Dance" in Spokane, Wash. Seven letterwinners, including three starters, are back from that club.
The Aggies are off to a 2-4 start while playing a demanding early season schedule, including two games versus ranked teams. New Mexico State has lost to Ohio (80-72), #13 Duke (86-61), #15 Texas (102-87) and West Virginia (75-61) -- teams with a combined record of 15-1 through Saturday. The Aggies beat UC Davis (75-65) and LeMoyne-Owen College (100-64).
Sophomore guard Jonathan Gibson (15.0 ppg) leads three NMSU players with double figure scoring averages. Senior guards Justin Hawkins and Fred Peete are averaging 14.6 ppg and 10.2 ppg, respectively. The 6-7 Hawkins is the team's leading rebounder at 8.4 boards per outing.
New Mexico State leads the series 99-94. UTEP holds a 56-45 advantage in games played in El Paso. The Miners had won six straight games in the series before NMSU swept two meetings last season, winning 71-69 in Las Cruces and 68-62 in El Paso. It was the Aggies' first season sweep of the Miners since 2002-03. UTEP has won five of the last seven matchups between the schools in the Don Haskins Center.
The 1966 national champion Texas Western College men's basketball team will return to El Paso and be recognized at Tuesday's game. The `66 champs will present a series of items to UTEP athletic department officials at halftime. The items donated by the `66 team will be displayed in UTEP's new Foster Stevens Basketball Complex, which is under construction and scheduled for completion by the spring of 2009.
UTEP students are invited to attend a free pre-game tailgate party for the Battle of I-10 on Tuesday. The party is being hosted by the Miner Maniacs and 3 Legged Monkey from 4-6:30 p.m. in front of the Brumbelow Building (next to the Don Haskins Center). Music, food and giveaways will be provided. Students can bring their own tailgate items if they wish.